SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft docked at about 11pm on Monday 16th November 2020, more than 24 hours after launching to space.
The mission marks Crew Dragon’s first long-duration mission. The spacecraft will however, frequent this type of mission for NASA over the next few years.
Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi were aboard the mission called Crew-1. The spacecraft attached itself to an open docking port on the outside of the ISS after slowly approaching the station. Crew Dragon was designed to dock automatically without input from the crew inside the ISS using sensors and cameras. Although, the passengers can take over the docking process if necessary using Crew Dragon’s touchscreen controls.
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“Excellent job, right down the center. SpaceX and NASA, congratulations. This is a new era of operational flights to the International Space Station from the Florida coast,” Hopkins, the commander of the mission, said after docking. Noguchi then added his thoughts in Japanese, ending with an English phrase: “All for one; Crew-1 for all”.
After docking with the ISS, the crew is to remain inside the Crew Dragon for about an hour. This will allow the crew already aboard the ISS to check for any leaks coming from the Crew Dragon. Then Crew-1 will board the ISS.
The four will join NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov aboard the ISS. Crew-1 is to stay aboard the space station for the next six months, eventually returning to Earth in the Crew Dragon in 2021 shortly after a second mission named Crew-2 arrives the ISS.
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