SpaceX’s Crew Dragon has successfully docked at the International Space Station.
During the 27 hour trip to the ISS, the four astronauts gave a video tour of their spacecraft Resilience. On board were commander Mike Hopkins; fellow NASA astronauts, pilot Victor Glover and physicist Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, who is making his third trip into space after previously flying on the US shuttle in 2005 and Soyuz in 2009.
NASA’s first full mission using a privately-owned spacecraft
The mission is a landmark achievement for commercial space travel – its is NASA’s first full-fledged mission ferrying a crew into orbit on a privately-owned spacecraft. The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule Resilience opened its hatch door shortly after 1 am EST (0600 GMT) this morning, two hours after docking and 27 hours after launching from Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral.
“New era of operational flights”
On docking Space X commander Hopins celebrated “a new era of operational flights to the International Space Station from the Florida coast.”After boarding, he added: “The last 27 hours have gone really smooth actually. We are looking forward to the next six months, and can’t wait to get started.”
The crew joined the ISS’s existing crew of one US astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts, greeting them with hugs and high-fives. The ISS will be home to the astronauts for the next six months before they are rotated with another set of astronauts on a Crew Dragon capsule. The rotation will continue with Boeing joining the programme with its own spacecraft late next year.
NASA had been reliant on Russian space launches after the Shuttle programme was discontinued in 2011.