SpaceX launched NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronauts atop a Falcon 9 rocket aboard the Crew Dragon Resiliece spacecraft on a voyage to the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday. After a 27-hour trip, Crew-1 NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi arrived to the orbiting laboratory on Monday night. Dragon Resilience docked to the station's Harmony module where it will remain until the astronauts head back to Earth. “SpaceX, this is Resilience, excellent job right down the center,” Hopkins radioed SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California. “SpaceX and NASA, congratulations. This is a new era of operational flights to the International Space Station from the Florida coast.”
Upon arrival Crew-1 astronauts were welcomed by Expedition 64 crew members, NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Sergey Ryzhikov. Crew-1 astronauts will stay at the space station for six months to conduct science research. This is the first long-duration ISS crew in history that features seven members. The space station does not have enough sleeping quarters for all members, only for six. So, one of the Crew-1 astronauts will sleep aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft.
NASA Astronaut Hopkins is Commander of the Crew-1 mission, he decided he will be who sleeps inside Crew Dragon while its docked at the space station. Hopkins said he will sleep inside the spacecraft until another sleeping pod is delivered to ISS, which could arrive three months from now or after the Crew-1 is scheduled to return. He shared that it is an old tradition for a commander to sleep inside the spacecraft. --“I think there’s a tradition that oftentimes in the shuttle days, the commander usually slept in the cockpit,” Hopkins said during a press conference. “So, at least for me, it just felt right that was where I needed to be. If any of us were going to sleep there, I felt like it should have been me.”
With more astronauts at the orbiting laboratory the agency can have each conduct a variety of science research in microgravity. “We look forward to a significant amount of time on orbit, a significant number of months we’ll be able to increase the amount of science, the amount of research, the amount of technology development we can do with the additional crew members,” said Joel Montalbano, NASA’s ISS program manager. “One of the cool things about having the Commercial Crew Program is we’re able to double the amount of crew-tended science and research and technology development we do on-board the International Space Station,” Montalbano said. “With three (U.S. segment) crew members, we were averaging about 35 hours a week of crew-tended science research. With a fourth crew member, that person’s time — the equivalent time — is dedicated to science and utilization and research. So we’ll be able to do 70 hours with the 4 crew members,” he stated. “That kind of sets the standard for us as … we continue to develop the International Space Station, continue to use, and allows us to do not only the science and research we have, but technology demonstration that will help us with the Artemis program.” The Artemis program is NASA’s plan to return astronauts to the moon and build a small space station in lunar orbit. The astronauts at ISS are paving the way for future astronauts' journey beyond Earth's orbit.
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.