Four astronauts from the US, France and Japan are first put into orbit by a rocket booster recycled from previous space flights.
Four astronauts have arrived aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule Endeavor at the International Space Station (ISS), NASA announced on Saturday, becoming the first crew to move from a rocket booster recycled from a previous spaceflight to the Was put into orbit.
The three men and one woman from the US, Japan and France reached the ISS early Saturday morning after a 23-hour journey.
They reached the ISS in the same capsule that SpaceX’s debut crew had used last May.
“Your arrival means there are now 11 people aboard our orbiting laboratory, a number that has not been seen since the space shuttle era. There are hugs in abundance, ”NASA tweeted next to a video about the greeting the new astronaut crew had received.
“Make an effort to arrive!” Welcome to @Space_Station, Crew-2!
Your arrival means there are now 11 people aboard our orbiting laboratory, a number that has not been seen since the space shuttle era. There are hugs in abundance. pic.twitter.com/uSwW3JFl6K
– NASA (@NASA) April 24, 2021
NASA said in a statement that it would attempt to tie itself to a docking port about 420 km above the southern Indian Ocean shortly after 9:00 a.m. GMT.
On board were two NASA astronauts – mission commander Shane Kimbrough (53) and pilot Megan McArthur (49) – as well as the Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide (52) and his mission specialist Thomas Pesquet (43), a French engineer from the European Space Agency.
The crew is on a six-month scientific mission on the ISS, NASA said.
“It’s been 20 years … since JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), ESA (European Space Agency), NASA and Russian astronauts were together in space. So it’s pretty historic what happens today,” said Pesquet, the astronaut from France.
“We can’t wait to begin our work on the space station. We can’t wait to see what we can do on the adventure.”
The mission is the second “operational” space station team launched by NASA aboard a Crew Dragon capsule since human spaceflight resumed from US soil last year after a nine-year hiatus.
It’s also the third crewed flight into orbit in 11 months as part of NASA’s fledgling public-private partnership with SpaceX, the rocket company founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, CEO of electric car maker Tesla Inc. started.
This screenshot from the NASA live feed shows the SpaceX’s Crew Dragon about 20 meters from the docking entrance of the International Space Station on April 24th [NASA/AFP]