Four astronauts arrive at International Space Station for historic SpaceX-NASA mission
The four-astronaut team aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft safely arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) late Monday night after having taken off on Sunday.
This mission funded by NASA called Crew-1 is set to break a few records, said NASA officials. Not only is this the first full-length mission that the company SpaceX will conduct for NASA, but this will also potentially be the longest-length human mission that has ever been launched from U.S. territory.
The current record-holder is a Skylab mission from 45 years ago that saw a 84-day stay. It goes without mentioning, too, that this is only the second time that SpaceX has launched humans and not empty spaceships that are piloted remotely into space.
The spacecraft, named Resilience, docked safely at the famous low-Earth orbit station at around 11 pm (Eastern Standard Time) on Monday after sailing toward the facility and locking onto one of the ports on the station’s central module. The four astronauts, who had been in the vehicle for almost more than 30 hours, disembarked from the vehicle two hours after arriving so that a series of diagnostics for safety could be performed and they were smiling when they exited the spacecraft.
SpaceX tweeted the news about Resilience successfully docking at the ISS Monday night, writing, “Docking confirmed – Crew Dragon has arrived at the @space_station!”
The four astronauts included Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker from NASA, and Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut from Japan’s space agency.
One story from this trip to the ISS that has been gathering a decent amount of traction in the news reports is that the crew brought along with them a little friend: a plush Baby Yoda doll from the Disney+ show “The Mandalorian” set in the Star Wars fictional universe.
When a SpaceX mission controller told the flight crew that the docking was complete, the mission’s commander, Hopkins, said, “Excellent job, right down the center. SpaceX and NASA, congratulations: This is a new era of operational flights to the International Space Station from the Florida coast.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.