SpaceX’s astronaut-riding Dragon arrives at space station

Rodiano Bonacci
Gennaio 10, 2021

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have successfully reached orbit aboard a SpaceX spacecraft, the culmination of the better part of a decade of work.

NASA on Twitter shared a video - which showed the astronauts hugging.

Today marks the (hopeful) historic launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon capsule on top.

On Saturday, May 30th, SpaceX's Crew Dragon is destined (weather permitting) to become the first private spacecraft to carry humans into orbit.

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CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - MAY 30: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches into space with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (R) and Doug Hurley aboard the rocket from the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Forecasters put the odds of acceptable conditions at 50-50 for Saturday afternoon's planned liftoff, the first launch of NASA astronauts from the U.S.in almost a decade.

Falcon 9's reusable first stage booster has successfully landed on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship off the Florida coast.

"Let's bring companies on board to not only fly people to [the International Space station], but let's bring companies on board to do the science", Koch said.

But this is not the first time NASA astronauts will wear an Omega X-33 on a mission. Once safely returned to dry land, SpaceX will be able to reuse that booster on any number of upcoming commercial launches, possibly including missions for NASA.

Behnken will be the joint operations commander for the mission, responsible for activities such as rendezvous, docking and undocking, as well as Demo-2 activities while the spacecraft is docked to the ISS. This isn't what would normally happen on a normal Crew Dragon mission, since the spacecraft is created to make the trip to ISS on its own operating entirely in an automated manner. From there, Behnken and Hurley will transfer over to the station, where they're set to stay for a period of between six and sixteen weeks, depending on NASA's determination of how long the mission should last.

The test flight also will provide valuable data toward certification of SpaceX's crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the space station.

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