This year the United States reemerged as a space power with human spaceflight capabilities thanks to a collaboration with SpaceX under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. In May SpaceX launched the first pair of astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) from American soil for the first time in nearly a decade; NASA had not deployed astronauts to space from the U.S. since 2011. SpaceX ignited a new era in American spaceflight amid the Coronavirus Pandemic that caused governments worldwide to impose lockdowns to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 respiratory illness caused by the virus. NASA and SpaceX imposed strict health guidelines to keep their staff and astronauts safe.
SpaceX performed first operational mission (Crew-1) to the Space Station in November. The Crew-1 mission is SpaceX's second crewed mission, that deployed four astronauts aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory atop a Falcon 9 rocket, that lifted off from Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Crew-1 NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi arrived to the station on November 16 and joined Expedition 64 astronauts. They will work at the ISS Lab for six months.
NASA Astronaut Hopkins, who is serving as Crew-1 mission Commander, shared they named SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft 'Resilience' to reflect all the challenges that the year 2020 has put forth to the world amid the Coronavirus outbreak. --"If you look up the definition of the word 'Resilience,' it means functioning well in times of stress or overcoming adverse events. I think all of us can agree that 2020 has certainly been a challenging year, [with] a global pandemic, economic hardships, social unrest [and] isolation," he said in October. "So the name 'Resilience' is really in honor of the SpaceX and NASA teams, and, quite frankly, it is in honor of our families, our colleagues, our fellow citizens, our international partners and our leaders, who have shown that same quality, those same characteristics all through these difficult times," Hopkins stated.
This week the astronauts recorded a video message wishing everyone on Earth Happy Holidays from the International Space Station. “In November, Victor, Shannon, Soichi, and I, arrived here aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon that we named ‘Resilience.’ We selected that name in tribute for people around the world and for the teams that help make our mission possible during a year that changed all of our lives,” Hopkins stated, in reference to COVID-19 that rapidly spread all over the world, causing the death of many. “We’d also like to remember everyone we’ve lost this year,” he added.
“There couldn’t be a better name to describe 2020, the resilience of the human spirit is something we can truly celebrate this special season." -SpaceX Crew-1 Pilot Victor Glover
“There couldn’t be a better name to describe 2020, the resilience of the human spirit is something we can truly celebrate this special season,” Astronaut Glover said in the video message (shown below).
“As we prepare to observe the holidays far away from our loved ones, we look down at our precious planet and it becomes clear how connected we really are,” Astronaut Walker said. You can watch the astronauts' holiday message in the video below, courtesy of NASA.
Images Source: NASA