Biggest space station crowd in decade after SpaceX arrival

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Fox News 24 April, 2021 - 12:25pm 29 views

When does spacex dock with ISS?

SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft Endeavour docks with the International Space Station on April 24, 2021. The second operational SpaceX crew mission arrived at the International Space Station early on Saturday morning, carrying four astronauts for a six month stay in space. CNBCTwo SpaceX crew spacecraft are now docked to the space station, as the Crew-2 mission arrives

What time does spacex launch?

SpaceX launched four astronauts to the International Space Station early Friday morning, marking the Elon Musk-led company's second regular flight there with humans aboard. The launch took place 5:49 a.m. Eastern time from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Los Angeles TimesSpaceX launches astronauts to space station

Who are the astronauts on spacex?

The crew is composed of NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet. ABC NewsSpaceX launches 4 astronauts to ISS on recycled rocket and capsule

Where did spacex launch?

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. The SpaceX rocket launched from Cape Canaveral at 5:49 a.m. carrying astronauts four astronauts -- two American, one Japanese and one European — who make up the Crew-2 mission, inside SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour. WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlandoWhat were those white flashes in the sky after SpaceX's Crew-2 launch? We explain

SpaceX astronauts dock at International Space Station -- day after launch from Florida

Fox News 24 April, 2021 - 02:00pm

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SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft docked at the International Space Station on Saturday morning around 5 a.m. ET, a day after the rocket launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The spacecraft was carrying four astronauts who will begin a six-month mission.

The Dragon capsule docked autonomously with the orbiting outpost 260 miles above the Indian Ocean.

The astronauts will replace four others who are scheduled to return to Earth in their own Dragon capsule Wednesday.

It was the first time two SpaceX crew Dragons were parked there at the same time — practically side by side.

The Dragon spacecraft is the third crewed SpaceX flight for NASA but the first time a recycled spacecraft has been used, part of a cost-efficiency plan and an essential part of CEO Elon Musk's push to the moon and Mars.

The space station will house 11 astronauts for the next four days. 

The four arriving astronauts are NASA's Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur — the commander and pilot of the Dragon — and France's Thomas Pesquet and Japan's Akihiko Hoshide.

McArthur flew to the space station in the same seat and the same capsule — Endeavour — as her husband, Bob Behnken, did on SpaceX's debut crew mission.

On Wednesday, three Americans and one Japanese astronaut who have been at the space station will depart for home and a splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico.

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SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft docks with International Space Station, Crew-2 is greeted by Crew-1

The Washington Post 24 April, 2021 - 02:00pm

In a delicate dance, the spacecraft aligned itself with one of the station’s docking ports and parked itself. The maneuvers were directed completely by the spacecraft’s computers. Controllers on the ground and the astronauts on board the capsule and the station monitored closely, but the computers were in control.

The two crafts were then locked together by a dozen hooks. The astronauts then ensured that the seal between spacecraft and station was tight and that the air pressure inside the spacecraft and the station was the same. Then they opened the hatch and crossed into the station.

First through the hatch was Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, followed by Thomas Pesquet of France, then NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough. They then gathered snugly around the hatch opening for a formal welcome ceremony.

“Let the Tetris game of fitting 11 crew members into a single frame begin,” NASA commentator Gary Jordon said during a live broadcast of the event.

The crew is scheduled to stay on board the station for six months performing science experiments and station upgrades.

“It is awesome to see the 11 of you on station,” acting NASA Administration Steve Jurczyk said, congratulating the crew on a safe mission that had lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida the day before.

McArthur, whose husband and fellow NASA astronaut Bob Behnken flew to the station on the same spacecraft last year, said that the crew is “just so excited to be here. ... We’re ready to get to work. There’s a lot of great science that I know we’re going to be doing."

Now, once again, NASA has it. SpaceX has flown three human spaceflight missions to the station. The latest, known as Crew-2, docked Saturday morning. Now that those four astronauts have arrived, the Crew-1 astronauts, who arrived at the station in November, are preparing to fly home after a six-month stay.

First, they’ll hand over operation of the station to their new crew mates, helping them get up to speed with everything that’s happening. Then on Wednesday, the Crew-1 astronauts are scheduled to get back into their spacecraft for the fiery journey home through Earth’s atmosphere. If all goes well, the crew, comprised of NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Victor Glover as well as Japan’s Soichi Noguchi, would undock from the station at about 5 a.m. and splashdown off the coast of Florida at about 12:35 p.m.

SpaceX’s next mission to the station, Crew-3, is scheduled for the fall.

The space station has had humans living on it continuously for more than 20 years. But it has shown signs of aging, and Russia has recently said it could abandon the program by 2025. The United States is currently committed to the station through 2024, though Congress is expected to extend the station’s life for several years later.

Now NASA is working on what comes next. It’s not interested in building another expensive, government-funded station. Rather the plan for now is to have commercial space stations that would be developed in partnership with the space agency.

Axiom Space, among others, is in the process of designing successors to the ISS. But those projects are still in the early stages and will need time — and money — to succeed. What happens next isn’t known. But it will pose one of the biggest challenges for former Sen. Bill Nelson, president Biden’s pick to become NASA administrator, once he is confirmed.

The autonomous spacecraft aligned itself with one of the station’s ports and parked itself in a delicate maneuver watched closely by controllers on the ground and astronauts on board the station. It was expected to take about 15 minutes for the docking sequence to be completed. On board the spacecraft are NASA astronauts Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough, France’s Thomas Pesquet and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide.

The astronauts will check to ensure that the seal is tight and that the pressure between the spacecraft and the station is equalized. Then, at approximately 7:15 a.m. Eastern, they are expected to open the hatch and board the station, where seven other astronauts are waiting to greet them.

A welcome ceremony is expected at about 7:30 a.m.

That flight, known as Inspiration4, is being funded by billionaire entrepreneur Jared Isaacman, who has made it a fundraising effort for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Joining Isaacman, the founder of Shift4 Payments, are four private citizens: Haley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at St. Jude who as a child was treated for bone cancer there; Sian Proctor, a scientist who won her seat in a competition by building an online store using Isaacman’s platform; and Chris Sembroski, a Lockheed Martin engineer, who was picked at random as part of a hospital fundraising sweepstakes.

The group is scheduled to spend a few days orbiting Earth inside SpaceX’s Dragon capsule.

SpaceX also is planning to launch another crew of private citizens early next year in a mission organized by Axiom Space, a Houston-based company. That group, three billionaires who are paying $55 million each, would be joined by former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, who is now a vice president at Axiom. The crew would spend about a week at the space station before returning to Earth.

It docked with the space station on May 31, 2020, with two astronauts onboard, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who flew aboard what was considered a test flight to make sure the craft functioned as expected.

That journey took Endeavour 22 hours to reach the space station, slightly less than the 23½ hours Endeavour is expected to have traveled on its current trip.

There’s another overlap between the current mission and its first one: astronaut Megan McArthur, one of the four aboard Endeavour this time, is married to Behnken and was assigned to the same seat in the capsule that he had occupied.

That means the astronauts will have to make do, sleeping wherever they can find a spot — even on the ceiling, since in the weightless environment of space there is no up or down.

After arriving at the space station in November, NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, the station’s current commander, also faced tight conditions. He ended up sleeping in the Dragon capsule that had carried him there. The capsule was connected to the station.

The space station will be crowded for only a few days, however, since Hopkins’s group of astronauts, known as Crew-1, is scheduled to return to Earth on Wednesday, with splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico.

It’s not just astronaut accommodations that are crowded. Boeing, the other company that has a contract to fly NASA astronauts to the space station, says it’s ready to fly a test of its long-delayed capsule as early as May. But because there’s no place to park it, Boeing says it doesn’t expect to undertake the test until August or September.

Now: Live coverage as SpaceX Endeavour capsule on Crew-2 mission to dock with the ISS

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Meet Thomas Pesquet, Crew-2 Mission Specialist

NASA 24 April, 2021 - 02:00pm

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