NASA, SpaceX Send Four Astronauts to International Space Station

25 Janvier, 2021, 09:19 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • NASA and SpaceX Launch Crew-1 Mission to International Space Station

Earlier this evening (Sunday, November 15th, 2020), NASA and SpaceX achieved another historical milestone.

SpaceX has launched four astronauts to the International Space Station.

The spacecraft took off with the help of SpaceX's flagship booster, Falcon 9 from the launch complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA and SpaceX launched Crew Dragon spacecraft's first operational crew mission on Sunday, carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).The mission, dubbed "Crew-1", is the first crew rotation flight of a USA commercial spacecraft with astronauts to the ISS.

The NASA and SpaceX mission successfully launched late on Sunday, after weather conditions on the previous launch date meant that it could not go ahead safely.

Three American astronauts are signed up for this job - NASA's Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Victor Glover - and so is a Japanese astronaut named Soichi Noguchi. "Falcon 9 looked great, Dragon was dropped off into a attractive orbit about 12 minutes into the mission, and we'll get more data as we go".

Crew Dragon capsule C207 prepares for SpaceX's operational astronaut launch debut, November 8th.

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The flight to the space station - 27½ hours door to door - should be entirely automated, although the crew can take control if needed. That was obviously a historic achievement, but it was also technically the last stage in SpaceX's test and demonstration program for Dragon and Falcon 9, whereas today's Crew-1 launch no longer qualifies as a test. Think of it this way: If Demo-2 was akin to the Wright Brothers' Kitty Hawk flight, Crew-1 will be the equivalent of the first US scheduled commercial airline flight in 1914. The astronauts went into quarantine with their families in October.

The launch is scheduled for 7:27 PM ET.

NASA and SpaceX streamed the launch, live, starting at 3:15 p.m. EST on Sunday.

President-elect Joe Biden tweeted his congratulations, saying the launch was "a testament to the power of science". "I join all Americans and the people of Japan in wishing the astronauts Godspeed on their journey".

Crew-1 will be the first time that a full complement of astronauts are flown on Dragon (there are six total seats but NASA has said it will only ever fly a max of four of its and partner agency crew to the ISS on these flights).

NASA just commenced their post-launch news conference on NASA TV, which kicked off at 09:30 PM EST (06:30 PM PST) and features commentary by Jim Bridenstine (NASA Administrator), Kathy Lueders (AA for human exploration and operations), Hiroshi Sasaki (VP and Director General of JAXA), Steve Dickson (FAA Administrator), and Gwynne Shotwell (SpaceX president and COO).

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