The capsule of four International SpaceX astronauts arrived at the International Space Station on Monday, their new home until spring.
The dragon capsule was dragged and docked Monday night after a 27-hour fully automated flight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The connection occurred 262 miles (422 kilometers) from Idaho.
“Oh, what a good voice to hear,” space station astronaut Kate Rubins called out when Dragon Commander Mike Hopkins made the radio contact.
“We can’t wait to have you on board,” he added after the two spacecraft were tied together.
SpaceX is the second mission astronaut. But this is the first time Elon Musk has delivered a crew for a full half-year stay at the station. The test flight of the two pilots lasted two months at the beginning of the year.
The three Americans and a Japanese astronaut will remain in the orbiting laboratory until they reach another Dragon in April. It will do just that, with SpaceX and eventually Boeing transporting astronauts back and forth to NASA on the station.
This regular taxi service was launched on Sunday night.
Hopkins and his crew – Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi – have joined two Russians and Americans who flew from Kazakhstan to the space station last month. Glover is the first African-American to move in a long career. New to space, Glover was presented with a gold astronaut pin on Monday.
The four named their capsule Resilience to give hope and inspiration to the whole world especially in this difficult year. On Monday they toured their capsule, showing touch screen controls, storage sites and a zero gravity indicator: a small Baby Yoda teddy bear.
Walker said it was narrower for them than the two astronauts on the test flight.
“We dance around each other to get away from each other,” he said.
Launched on Sunday, NASA kept guests at least as a result of the coronavirus, and Musk also had to stay away after tweeting that he was “probably” infected. In her official presentation, she was replaced by SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell, who assured reporters that she was still closely associated with Sunday night’s activities, albeit remotely.
As they prepared for the link to the space station, the Dragon Crew had direct views of the New Zealand window and the bright blue Pacific Ocean below 250 miles.
“It looks amazing,” Mission Control did on the radio from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorn, California.
“It looks amazing from here, too,” Hopkins replied.
The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Department of Science Education at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
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