Departed from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida, the SpaceX Crew-1 has reached the International Space Stationaround 3:30 (in Italy) on the morning of Tuesday 17 November, while the mission ended around 7:10 with the crew entering the Space Station. This milestone represents the umpteenth success of Elon Musk and his SpaceX, but the first success regarding official, and not test, manned missions. A US mission, which started from the USA with an American rocket.
Specifically the Crew Dragon capsule called Resilience docked on the ISS, bringing four astronauts (three NASA and one JAXA) to their destination. Their names areMichael Hopkins,Victor Glover,Shannon WalkerisSoichi Noguchi, and will be part of the crew of the International Space Station for the next six months. Unlike the first test mission, in which there were two astronauts aboard the Crew Dragon, four people were transported in the new mission (along with Baby Yoda as the zero-g indicator).
The Resilience journey lasted approximately 27 hours, including the final maneuver of approximately two hours. The docking took place with the ISS Harmony module, and kicked off a record stay of about six months at the orbiting laboratory for the four astronauts.It is the first time that a commercial spacecraft has brought a crew to the International Space Station (ISS) for a long-term stay, while the first time ever was during SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission, which took NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS for a two-month stay earlier this year.
Yet another success of SpaceX: Crew-1 has reached the ISS
The successful arrival of Crew-1 meant that there was a long-lasting seven-member crew, compared to the usual six. Three other Expedition 64 crew members were in fact already aboard the ISS before Resilience arrived: Kate Rubins, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, who launched towards the space station on the Russian probe Soyuz MS-17 on October 14. With an extra member aboard there is a shortage of “beds” on the ISS, and so the Commander of Resilience – MikeHopkins – decided totemporarily camp in the Crew Dragon while his teammates will sleep regularly in the Station.
After NASA withdrew its space fleet in 2011, the United States relied entirely on Russia to transport its astronauts to and from the ISS. To reduce its dependence on Russia, NASA hired SpaceX and Boeing to build commercial vehicles for the purpose of regularly reaching the Space Station and SpaceX is clearly in the lead while Boeing is still working on the first test flight unmanned of his CST-100 Starliner. At the same time, Elon Musk’s company also has a supply contract with NASA with its cargo version of the Dragon, and in the next 15 months, seven missions are planned that involve the use of the Dragon, both in the cargo and crewed versions.