Four space station 'freshies' can't wait to get started on work

Rodiano Bonacci
Novembre 21, 2020

Four astronauts carried into orbit by a SpaceX Crew Dragon boarded the International Space Station on Tuesday, the first of what NASA hopes will be many routine missions ending United States reliance on Russian rockets.

The Sunday launch from Kennedy Space Center marked only the second crewed-flight for the SpaceX Crew Dragon, which became the first commercial vehicle to put humans into orbit when astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, KE5GGX, launched in May, and NASA gave SpaceX the go for future such launches. They will be part of the station's crew until April, when their replacements arrive on another Dragon capsule.

It comes after a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket had already carried two NASA astronauts to ISS in historic first for a private company back in June this year. "I just want to tell you how proud we are of you". This is the first time a privately-owned space capsule is being launched into space with four astronauts on board.

A handful of Black astronauts have visited the orbiting lab during space shuttle missions, their stays were a few weeks.

From here, the Crew-1 astronauts are set to be on board the ISS for six months. Flying SpaceX, NASA will save about $ 25 million per seat.

The Crew-1 astronauts will stay aboard the space station for the next six months, carrying out a range of experiments in microgravity conditions while at the same time enjoying the view.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday launched the Dragon spacecraft, which dropped into orbit in about 12 minutes.

The crew members first opened the hatch between the space station and the pressurized mating adapter at 1:02 a.m. EST then opened the hatch to Crew Dragon. The two-pilot test flight before this season lasted two weeks.

But SpaceX's success won't mean the USA will stop hitching rides with Russian Federation altogether, said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine. The four astronauts are on a Twenty seven hours long journey en route the International Space Station.

Bridenstine also explained it was necessary in case either programme was down for a period of time.

NASA had been reliant on Russia's space program since 2011, when the USA shuttle program ended. It will reuse the Crew Dragon Endeavor, which was first used on the SpaceX Demo-2 mission in May. They were launched to the space station on Russia's Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft on October 14, 2020.

The agency has yet to receive from Congress the tens of billions of dollars needed to finalise the Artemis programme.

"I look forward to enjoying the new era and going together for the future", said Hiroshi Sasaki, Vice President of JAXA.

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