SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft docks with International Space Station
Four astronauts on board the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, launched on Falcon 9 rocket, successfully arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) early on Saturday for a six-month stay in space. The Crew-2 mission brings the total number of astronauts on board the orbiting research laboratory to 11.
The Dragon capsule docked autonomously with the orbiting outpost more than 260 miles (420 kilometers) a day after launching from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
It is the first time SpaceX has reused a capsule and rocket to launch astronauts for NASA. “If you have rapid and complete reusability, then that is the gateway to the heavens. That’s what we’re trying to get done, and the support of NASA makes a huge difference,” Elon Musk said.
“The future’s looking good. I think we’re at the dawn of a new era of space exploration,” Musk said after watching the liftoff from launch control.
“This marks many important milestones, but it really is important for getting a regular cadence of the crew to the station and back,” said Steve Jurczyk, NASA’s acting administrator. “And it’s going to really accelerate the research and development we’re able to do on the station.”
Astronauts aboard ISS
The Crew 2 team consists of two NASA astronauts, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and fellow mission specialist Thomas Pesquet, a French engineer from the European Space Agency.
Crew-2 joins Expedition 65 crew which includes Shannon Walker, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Mark Vande Hei of NASA, as well as Soichi Noguchi of JAXA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.
— International Space Station (@Space_Station) April 24, 2021