NASA Welcomes SpaceX Crew-1 Astronauts to the Orbiting Laboratory

Evelyn Arevalo by Evelyn Arevalo November 17, 2020

NASA Welcomes SpaceX Crew-1 Astronauts to the Orbiting Laboratory

SpaceX's Crew-1 mission deployed four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which aims to start launching astronauts regularly from American soil. On Sunday night, NASA Commander Michael Hopkins and Pilot Victor Glover, alongside Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, lifted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket aboard the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft from Launch Complex 39A at Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Center.

 



After a 27-hour-and-half voyage, the Dragon Resilience spacecraft docked autonomously to the space staion's Harmony module on Monday night at 11:01 p.m. EST. Approximately two hours later, the astronauts first opened the hatch between ISS and the pressurized mating adapter at 1:02 a.m. EST then opened the hatch door to exit Crew Dragon. Crew-1 astronauts will stay at the space station for six months to conduct science research. The Crew-1 astronauts joined United States NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Sergey Ryzhikov, who commands the ISS current Expedition 64 mission. This is the first long-duration ISS crew in that features seven members.

 



Upon Crew Dragon's arrival, they welcomed the Crew-1 astronauts to the orbiting laboratory. All seven crew members communicated with NASA and JAXA officials during a Welcome Ceremony to celebrate the successful mission. Crew-1 astronauts received congratulation messages from the agency's leaders for their courage and safe arrival.

"This mission was a dream," NASA Human Spaceflight Chief Kathy Lueders said during a press conference Tuesday morning. "It was a dream of us to be able to one day … have crew transportation services to the International Space Station. And today that dream became a reality," she said, in reference to SpaceX returning human spaceflight capabilites to the United States, after nearly a decade of the agency relying on Russian spacecraft to launch NASA astronauts to the space station. --"It's the start of a new era," Lueders added.

"Huge shoutouts to the NASA and SpaceX teams — excellent job; many hard years of work," Ven Feng, Deputy Manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, said, "...We are looking forward to making this a very successful first operational mission, and many more to follow."

After the successful Crew-1 mission, SpaceX President and Chief Operatin Officer Gwynne Shotwell shared the company will be launching roughly seven cargo and crew missions aboard Crew Dragon over the next 18 months. The next cargo launch will be a NASA resupply mission scheduled for December. It will be the first time in history two SpaceX Dragon spacecrafts are docked to the space station at once. --"This mission represents the initiation of a Dragon in orbit continuously, knocking on wood and certainly is really the beginning of a new era in human spaceflight," Shotwell said.





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