SpaceX Crew Dragon, commercially-made spacecraft, has finally arrived to the orbiting laboratory at the International Space Station after launching from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On Sunday, NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken made the space trip successful while docking at ISS 262 miles over the border of northern China and Mongolia – making history in the process. The astronauts will perform scientific experiments and research.
The mission completed nearly after the 19-hours cruise and docked at the International Space Station – ISS at 10:30 am ET. “It’s been a real honor to be just a small part of this nine-year endeavor since the last time the United States has docked with the International Space Station. We have to congratulate the men and women of SpaceX. Their incredible efforts over the last several years to make this possible cannot go overstated” said Behnken, commander of the Crew Dragon capsule.
After landing successfully, the triumphant NASA astronauts joined the three onboard International Space Station crew members. The NASA astronaut, Chris Cassidy, welcomed the Endeavour Dragon pilots wholeheartedly, saying, “Crew of Expedition 63 is honored to welcome Dragon and the Commercial Crew program aboard the International Space Station.”
The ISS crew rang the Space Station’s bell three times in the maritime tradition to signal the arrival of SpaceX Crew Dragon. Both the astronauts and spaceflight veterans will now spend up to four months in the orbiting laboratory after which they will undock and get back down to Earth. The SpaceX engineers will consistently analyze the spaceship performance to pave the smooth ways for future operational missions.
SpaceX Crew Dragon DEMO-2 mission
The second demonstration mission of the full flight of the SpaceX’ spacecraft launched as per the plan, marking excellence in history. The mission Demo-2 lifted off, whizzing around the Earth at speeds that eventually hit 17,500 mphwith the two American astronauts Behnken, 49, and Hurley 53, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s historic Pad39A in Florida. Both astronauts have flown on two previous space shuttle missions.
The first-ever commercial spacecraft arrived to the International Space Station with a fully autonomous docking system. The ISS crew members, including Chris Cassidy, Anatoly Ivanishin, and Ivan Vagner, who have been there since April, helped the astronauts open the hatch and entered them in the Space Station.
Elon Musk took Twitter to congratulate on the success.
SpaceX founder and CEO, Elon Musk, took the pride and ownership of the successful Demo-2 mission and gave a shout-out to the astronauts saying, “Congratulations Bob & Doug on docking & hatch opening on the space station!”
During the press conference following the launch of SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule, Musk got emotional and paid tribute to the SpaceX and NASA team. “It is the culmination of an incredible amount of work by the SpaceX team, by NASA, and by a number of other partners. You can look at this as the results of a hundred thousand people roughly when you add up all the suppliers and everyone working incredibly hard to make this day happen,” he said.
Featured image: The SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured about 30 meters away from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV