Science & Technology

‘Dragon arriving’: For first time, astronauts reach the space station in SpaceX capsule

For the first time in almost 9 years, astronauts have arrived at the Worldwide Space Station in a spaceship that was made in the USA.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, which was quickly after , connected with the station at 7:16 a.m. PT immediately.

Endeavour introduced NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the station’s Concord port, prompting space station commander Chris Cassidy to ring the naval bell that’s a part of the custom for welcoming space crews.

“Dragon arriving,” Cassidy declared.

The astronauts and NASA mission controllers spent greater than two hours conducting leak checks and communication checks, main as much as the opening of the remaining hatch between Endeavour and the space station at 10:02 a.m. PT. Minutes later, Hurley and Behnken floated by way of the hatch, hugged their new space station crewmates and lined up for a photograph op.

“We’re simply actually glad to be on board this magnificent advanced,” stated Hurley, who bumped his head as he got here by way of the hatch.

Over a space-to-ground video hyperlink, Hurley stated he hoped the previous week’s achievements would supply a dose of optimism amid the coronavirus pandemic, financial reversals and waves of civil unrest.

“This is only one effort that we are able to present for the ages in this darkish time that we’ve had over the previous a number of months, to encourage particularly the younger individuals of the United States to reach for these lofty objectives, and work onerous and take a look at what you may accomplish,” he stated.

The final time a U.S.-built spaceship carried crew to the space station was in July 2011, throughout the remaining space shuttle mission. Hurley was additionally on that mission, and performed a task in forsaking a U.S. flag that flew on the first shuttle flight.

For 9 years, to be picked up by the subsequent crew to launch from Florida. Now Hurley and Behnken have gained the proper to reclaim the flag and convey it again to Earth.

Since 2012, SpaceX’s first-generation Dragon capsules have been delivering provides to the station and bringing shipments again to Earth. And final yr, an uncrewed second-generation Crew Dragon . However the present flight, referred to as Demonstration Mission 2 or DM-2, marked the first time {that a} spacecraft constructed and owned by a non-public firm carried crew to orbit after which onward to the station.

For most of the 19-hour flight, Endeavour was beneath autonomous management, however Hurley and Behnken did get a few probabilities to check out the craft’s handbook touchscreen controls — the first time such an interface has been used for spaceflight. Earlier than the launch, Hurley acknowledged that the interface was “just a little bit totally different.” Right this moment, he gave it an important evaluation.

“It flew similar to it was imagined to. … It’s precisely like the simulator, and we couldn’t be happier about the efficiency of the car,” Hurley stated. (You may .)

Behnken stated the journey began out extra easily than the typical shuttle launch, however that “Dragon was huffing and puffing all the manner into orbit” when the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage kicked in.

“We have been positively driving and driving a Dragon all the manner up,” he stated. “And so it was not fairly the similar journey, the easy journey the space shuttle was. … Rather less G’s, however just a little bit extra ‘alive’ is the finest manner I’d describe it.”

Behnken stated he and Hurley acquired “an excellent seven hours or so” of sleep throughout the flight. Based mostly on the space-to-ground dialog earlier than hatch opening, additionally they had a possibility to make use of Dragon’s onboard rest room.

What does our dwelling planet seem like from ‘s Crew Dragon Endeavour? Watch as and take you inside the spacecraft and supply an replace about our mission:


Hurley and Behnken will probably be working alongside Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner in the weeks forward, however NASA hasn’t but determined how lengthy the Dragon riders will keep. It could possibly be wherever between six and 16 weeks, relying on how the demonstration mission goes and on the timing for future crewed missions.

“Doug and I can take a few of the burden off Chris and his crewmates,” Behnken stated.

When it’s time for the two astronauts to return dwelling, they’ll climb again into Endeavour and journey the Dragon again to an Atlantic splashdown and restoration.

Solely then will SpaceX CEO Elon Musk breathe a full sigh of aid. “We have to deliver them dwelling safely and be sure that we’re doing every thing we are able to to attenuate that danger of re-entry,” he informed reporters on Saturday.

If the mission is totally profitable, that will open the manner for normal Crew Dragon journeys to and from the station, releasing NASA from the obligation to pay the Russians upwards of $90 million per seat for rides on Soyuz spacecraft.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine stated , simply to be secure.

Subsequent yr, Boeing’s Starliner space taxi is because of be part of the rotation — assuming {that a} of final December’s not-totally-successful goes as deliberate.

Head on view of the space station from the lower than 150 meters away.

— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station)

This report was first revealed at 8:54 a.m. PT Could 31.

Back to top button