The newly launched capsule with four SpaceX spacecraft has been in contact with the crew home for the next six months with the International Space Station (ISS).
The Dragon capsule arrived at 11.01pm ET 227 hours later, a fully automatic flight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There was a brief delay after the “sunset” had cast shadows across the docking area, making it more difficult for the crew to observe the process.
The leadup came 262 miles (422 kilometers) above Idaho. There was a warm welcome with a hug from the station crew, the crew entered the ISS just after 1 a.m. ET.
When Dragon Commander Mike Hopkins first contacted the radio, he asked, “Oh, what a good sound.” “We can’t wait to put you on board,” he added after the two spaceships latched together. “
As they prepare for the space station linkup, Dragon Crew brings in a live window view of New Zealand and a bright blue, cloudy line 250 miles down the Pacific Highway.
“Looks amazing” has been broadcast on radio from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Hopkins replied, “Surprised from here too.”
This is the first time Elon Musk’s company has provided a crew to stay at the station for half a year.
Three American and one Japanese astronaut will remain in the orbit lab until their replacement arrives at another Dragon capsule in April. And so it will go on a one-of-a-kind galactic taxi service with SpaceX – and eventually Boeing – to and from NASA, transporting astronauts.
Hopkins and his crew – Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Sochi Noguchi of Japan – joined two Russians and an American who flew to the space station from Kazakhstan last month. Glover is the first African-American to travel a long way. The first-time flyer, Glover, was presented with his gold astronaut pin on Monday.
The four provide hope and inspiration in a particularly difficult year for the whole world for the resilience of their world capsule. They aired a tour of their capsules on Monday, showing touchscreen controls and storage locations.
Walker said it was a bit tougher for them than the two astronauts on the test flight. “We kind of dance around each other to stay out of each other’s way,” he said.
For Sunday’s inauguration, NASA kept the guest to a minimum due to coronavirus and even “probably” had to stay away after tweeting that he had an infection. Replacing him with his official launch fee, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell assured reporters that he was still heavily involved in Sunday night’s activities, albeit remotely.
As they prepared for the space station linkup, Dragon Crew assembled a live window view of New Zealand and a bright blue, cloudy line below 250 miles (400 kilometers) across the Pacific Ocean.
“Looks amazing” has been broadcast on radio from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
Hopkins replied, “Surprised from here too.”
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