SpaceX Dragon crew capsule docks at International Space Station

31 Mai, 2020, 20:38 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Dragon crew capsule lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canave

Japanese astronaut Noguchi Soichi has praised Saturday's "flawless" launch of the spacecraft built by United States firm SpaceX. NASA and SpaceX can not launch unless the weather is flawless.

And it marks the first time commercially developed space vehicles - owned and operated by a private entity rather than NASA - have carried Americans into orbit.

Saturday's groundbreaking launch, which took place at 3.22pm ET after being delayed by poor weather from Wednesday, lit the skies over Cape Canaveral as the Falcon 9 rocket blazed a trail across the Atlantic ocean on a 12-minute journey to orbit.

The trip from the Florida coast to the space station took just under 19 hours.

NASA managers conducted leak checks and communication checks, in preparation for opening the hatches and having Hurley and Behnken float into the orbital outpost. The launch escape system (LES) consists of a set of SpaceX-designed SuperDraco engines that fire in the event of an emergency to propel the capsule and its crew away from the rocket and land them safely using parachutes.

The success of this mission will earn the company NASA certification for commercial crew missions to and from the International Space Station. "Because you never know.", Ustimenko said.

Even with all of the exceptional planning ahead of this SpaceX launch, NASA and SpaceX can't control the weather (not yet anyway).

US-astronauts Hurley and Behnken will now spend between one to four months aboard the ISS along with their USA and Russian colleagues who are already on board. "I'm so proud of the @NASA and @SpaceX team for making this moment possible", Bridenstine tweeted.

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He added: "Bob and Doug, glad to have you as part of the crew".

USA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have docked with the International Space Station (ISS).

Behnken and Hurley will arrive at the ISS Sunday morning (May 30), and the Crew Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to autonomously dock with the orbiting lab at 10:29 a.m. EDT (1429 GMT). SpaceX has been developing the Dragon line of spacecraft since 2004, with a successful maiden flight of Dragon 1, an uncrewed cargo vessel, in 2010.

"This is something that should really get people right in the heart of anyone who has any spirit of exploration", Musk, the visionary also behind the Tesla electric vehicle company, said after liftoff, pounding his chest with his fist.

NASA officials said the space station is most visible in the sky at dawn and dusk.

Leading up to launch, the weather forecast around Cape Canaveral increased from roughly 50% on the day of the launch to 70% favorability before launch.

NASA's Commercial Crew Program is working with SpaceX and Boeing to design, build, test and operate safe, reliable and cost-effective human transportation systems to low-Earth orbit.

".We are not going to rest on our laurels either". And a year ago, an uncrewed second-generation Crew Dragon visited the station during a demonstration mission.

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