NASA astronauts Bob Behnken, KE5GGX, and Doug Hurley, are settling in on board the International Space Station (ISS) after arriving aboard the first commercially built and operated US spacecraft to transport humans into orbit. Behnken and Hurley headed into space on Saturday, May 30, in the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, powered by a Falcon 9 launcher from Cape Kennedy. They docked at the ISS Harmony module on Sunday afternoon. ISS Commander Chris Cassidy, KF5KDR, and crew members Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner welcomed their new colleagues.
“The whole world saw this mission, and we are so, so proud of everything you’ve done for our country and, in fact, to inspire the world,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told the crew. “This represents a transition in how we do spaceflight from the United States of America. NASA is not going to purchase, own, and operate rockets and capsules the way we used to; we’re going to partner with commercial industry.” This would apply to future moon missions, Bridenstine added.
For the past 9 years, human crews were transported to and from the ISS via Russian Soyuz vehicles.
After they reached orbit, Behnken and Hurley named their Crew Dragon spacecraft Endeavour as a tribute to the first space shuttle each astronaut had flown aboard. The Dragon capsule docked to the ISS flawlessly and without human intervention.
The SpaceX vehicle will undergo considerable inspection over the next couple of weeks as part of the process of declaring the Dragon operational. This past weekend’s mission was SpaceX’s second spaceflight test, Demo-2, of its Crew Dragon, but it was the first test with astronauts aboard.
The Crew Dragon being used for this flight test can stay in orbit about 110 days. NASA would require an operational Crew Dragon spacecraft to remain in orbit for 210 days. — Thanks to NASA