SpaceX Crew Dragon caps flawless rendezvous with station docking

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CBS News 25 April, 2021 - 06:49am 27 views

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

When does Dragon dock with ISS?

SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft Endeavour docks with the International Space Station on April 24, 2021. CNBCTwo SpaceX crew spacecraft are now docked to the space station, as the Crew-2 mission arrives

How many astronauts are on the International Space Station?

Four more spaceflyers arrived at the ISS this morning (April 24) via SpaceX's Crew-2 mission, bringing the total number of astronauts aboard the station to 11. That's a lot, considering the orbiting lab usually hosts six people at a time (though there have been as many as 13 crewmembers aboard at once). Space.comWith 11 people on space station, astronauts get crafty with sleeping spots

What is spacex launch?

Elon Musk's SpaceX launched its Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station, achieving a takeoff with both a pre-used capsule and rocket for the first time as it sent four astronauts, two from NASA, into orbit. The Wall Street JournalSpaceX Launch Reaches Space Station in Latest NASA Mission

The space junk encounter, called a conjunction, occurred at 1:43 p.m. EDT (1743 GMT) as the four Crew-2 astronauts were preparing to sleep after a long day. Their Crew Dragon Endeavour docked at the space station early Saturday.

"For awareness, we have identified a late breaking possible conjunction with a fairly close miss distance to Dragon," SpaceX's Sarah Gilles told the astronauts about 20 minutes before the conjunction on Friday. "As such, we do need you to immediately proceed with suit donning and securing yourselves in seats."

Gilles told the astronauts to get back into their spacesuits and seats as safety precaution in case of an impact. You can watch the exchange here, courtesy of Raw Science. 

"Copy Sarah, you want us in the suit for a possible close call,"Crew-2 astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency radioed back.

As the time of the space debris conjunction approached, Gilles radioed an update to the Crew-2 astronauts to say the debris appeared to be passing Crew Dragon at a farther distance than initially expected. By 1:44 p.m. EDT, Gilles radioed the all-clear to say that the debris had passed by without incident. 

"Dragon, SpaceX, we have passed TCA with no impact," Gilles said of the debris. The distance and composition of the debris was not immediately clear.

After the conjunction, the Crew-2 astronauts — Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA, Pesquet of the European Space Agency and Akihiko Hoshide of Japan — got out of their suits and continued with their evening. They arrived at the station on Saturday without any more surprises.

Related: 7 wild ways to clean up space junk

Such close encounters with space junk have occurred several times over the years, with the International Space Station and some NASA shuttles occasionally moving to dodge debris as a safety measure. The space station is huge, about the size of a football field, but SpaceX's Crew Dragon — a space capsule — is relatively small at just under 27 feet long (8 meters).

Last September, a potential space debris threat forced the space station's then-three-person crew to take shelter inside the station's Russian segment to be closer to their Soyuz spacecraft in case of an impact. 

Space debris is a growing concern for astronauts and satellites as companies launch more and more missions into space, including megaconstellations like SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet project, which now numbers more than 1,400 satellites.

This week, the European Space Agency held the 8th European Conference on Space Debris to discuss the program of space junk. There is an estimated 128 million objects larger than a millimeter in orbit today, according to an ESA overview.

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Read full article at CBS News

Watch SpaceX Crew-2 Dock at International Space Station!

CNET Highlights 25 April, 2021 - 09:00am

SpaceX capsule with four astronauts aboard docks with International Space Station

CNN 25 April, 2021 - 09:00am

Updated 10:28 AM ET, Sat April 24, 2021

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