Space & Astronomy
4 astronauts launch to ISS aboard Crew Dragon
By T.K. Randall
November 16, 2020 · 3 comments
The launch went according to plan. Image Credit: NASA /Joel Kowsky
The second ever manned flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft saw the new ISS crew blast into orbit.
The launch, which marks only the second time that astronauts have lifted off from US soil since the Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down for the final time on July 21st, 2011, departed from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday evening.
The Crew Dragon was carrying four astronauts - NASA's Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, as well as Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
The launch marks the first time that the Crew Dragon has carried four astronauts at the same time and once they reach the ISS, it will be the first time that the station's long duration expedition crew size will have increased from six to seven crew members.
"NASA is delivering on its commitment to the American people and our international partners to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective missions to the International Space Station using American private industry," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
"This is an important mission for NASA, SpaceX and our partners at JAXA, and we look forward to watching this crew arrive at station to carry on our partnership for all of humanity."
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was not present for the launch as he was isolating due to coronavirus.
"Watching this mission launch is a special moment for NASA and our SpaceX team," said Steve Stich, manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.
"We are looking forward to getting this crew to station to continue our important work, and I want to thank the teams for the amazing effort to make the next generation of human space transportation possible."
If all goes to plan, the spacecraft will reach and dock with the space station later on today.
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