CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The race is on, both for Elon Musk and the SpaceX team and for a group from Fargo, which are hoping to get a good spot to view an exciting moment in the history of the final frontier.
"We're here at the house packing up and are going to go get some drinks and stuff for the day to be able to survive the weather, and we're gonna be ready to watch the launch," says Jake Joraanstad, Fargo resident and CEO of Bushel — a Fargo-based company specializing in software that allows grain elevators, coops and ethanol plants to connect digitally with growers.
He, along with his brother Levi Joraanstad, cousin Noah Joraanstad and friend Carl Neslon, knew the chance to watch a space launch was something they couldn't pass up.
"Well, we are all big SpaceX fans," Jake said. "This is a really big deal for history, so we said 'Let's go watch this in person.' We've never had really a chance to go see any of the launches, and this is one that's gonna be special, so here we are."
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or "SpaceX" as it's commonly referred to, was founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in 2002 with a goal of decreasing the cost, while improving the reliability of access to space. In addition to this, Musk states that a major goal of the SpaceX program is to develop a reusable launch system — ultimately allowing human life to travel to the International Space Station, the moon, Mars and beyond.
While the launch, which was originally scheduled for Wednesday, May 27, was postponed because of weather, the crew from Fargo won't let a little rain ruin the experience of a lifetime. Noah, Levi and Nelson will stay in Florida through Saturday, however, Jake Joraanstad will return to Fargo Thursday, May 28.
"(Musk) is just dead set on getting us to be a multi-planetary species, as he would describe it," Jake said. "And there's a lot of naysayers. I think the thing that's been the biggest impact for (Musk) was, as he got SpaceX off the ground, it was a massive battle. Some of the heroes of his life — Neil Armstrong and others — were kind of negative on SpaceX being able to do this. And today is the day that he proves everybody wrong and shows them that he can do it."
Just like the race to space of the mid-20th century, the race never stops. Even when there's a pandemic.
Fortunately, Florida's relaxed restrictions are allowing those, like the Joraanstads and Nelson to witness an important moment in history.
"We traveled on Delta here, and the flight was great," Jake said. "It was really well spaced out, everybody was wearing masks, we felt really comfortable about the flight."
The group, in true fanboy fashion, also rented a Tesla for their stay in Florida.
"It's a cool experience down here in Florida," he said. "It's been exciting. There's a ton of excitement building up to this, and I think this is a time when SpaceX and this idea of space travel goes mainstream again where people are more interested than ever about what's coming."
While SpaceX was scheduled to launch Falcon 9 with Crew Dragon's second demonstration mission at 3:33 p.m. CST or 4:33 p.m., EST, Wednesday, May 27, from the Kennedy Space Center in Brevard County, Fla. Inclement weather moved the launch date. The next opportunities for liftoff are 3:22 p.m. EST, Saturday, May 30, and 3 p.m., EST, Sunday, May 31.The crew features NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley and will be the first return human spaceflight to the U.S.