SpaceX’s newly launched capsule with four astronauts arrived Monday at the International Space Station, its new home until spring.
The Dragon capsule pulled up and docked late Monday night, following a 27-hour, completely automated flight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The linkup occurred 262 miles above Idaho.
‘Oh, what a good voice to hear,’ space station astronaut Kate Rubins called out when the Dragon’s commander, Mike Hopkins, first made radio contact.
In this frame grab from NASA TV, the SpaceX Dragon is seen after docking at the International Space Station, late Monday
Four astronauts riding a newly designed spacecraft from Elon Musk’s SpaceX docked with the International Space Station Monday night, in the first crewed mission on a privately built space capsule purchased by NASA. This picture shows the spacecraft approaching
The Crew Dragon capsule can be seen getting closer to the framework of the ISS
Nasa’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon can be seen as it approaches the International Space Station with Earth visible in the distance
In this split screen image, the capsule can be seen on the left as it approached the ISS, while right the astronauts can be seen piloting their craft
The spacecraft, named “Resilience,” docked autonomously with the space station some 260 miles above Earth
‘We can´t wait to have you on board,’ she added after the two spacecraft were latched together.
This is the second astronaut mission for SpaceX. But it´s the first time Elon Musk´s company delivered a crew for a full half-year station stay. The two-pilot test flight earlier this year lasted two months.
The three Americans and one Japanese astronaut will remain at the orbiting lab until their replacements arrive on another Dragon in April. And so it will go, with SpaceX – and eventually Boeing – transporting astronauts to and from the station for NASA.
This regular taxi service got underway with Sunday night’s launch.
SpaceX´s Crew Dragon capsule, dubbed Resilience by its crew of three Americans and one Japanese astronaut, docked at 11:01pm EST, 27 hours after launching atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida
A view of the International Station, an orbital laboratory about 250 miles above Earth
Sunday night’s launch marked SpaceX’s first operational mission for NASA which is hoped will become routine going forward
SpaceX Crew-1 crew members from left are Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi
Hopkins and his crew – Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi – join two Russians and one American who flew to the space station last month from Kazakhstan. Glover is the first African-American to move in for a long haul. A space newcomer, Glover was presented his gold astronaut pin Monday.
The four named their capsule Resilience to provide hope and inspiration during an especially difficult year for the whole world.
They broadcast a tour of their capsule Monday, showing off the touchscreen controls, storage areas and their zero gravity indicator: a small plush Baby Yoda.
Walker said it was a little tighter for them than for the two astronauts on the test flight.
‘We sort of dance around each other to stay out of each other’s way,’ she said.
SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule dimensions and features
In this frame grab from NASA TV, astronauts Mike Hopkins, left, and Victor Glover monitor controls aboard SpaceX Dragon as the capsule approaches the International Space Station, late Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. (NASA TV via AP)
For Sunday’s launch, NASA kept guests to a minimum because of coronavirus, and even Musk had to stay away after tweeting that he ‘most likely’ had an infection.
He was replaced in his official launch duties by SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell, who assured reporters he was still very much involved with Sunday night’s action, although remotely.
As they prepared for the space station linkup, the Dragon crew beamed down live window views of New Zealand and a brilliant blue, cloud-streaked Pacific 250 miles below.
‘Looks amazing,’ Mission Control radioed from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
‘It looks amazing from up here, too,’ Hopkins replied.
A SpaceX Falcon9 rocket, with the Crew Dragon capsule attached blasts off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex in Cape Canaveral with the four astronauts who were on their way to the international Space Station
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket streaks toward space in this time exposure at liftoff from launch complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday night
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from launch complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November 15, 2020
This SpaceX video grab shows Nasa’s SpaceX Crew-1 members waiting for 2nd Stage separation
NASA astronauts, from left, Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, and Michael Hopkins and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi leave the Operations and Checkout Building on their way to launch pad 39A for the SpaceX Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sunday