Four astronauts successfully took off on the historic first commercial flight of NASA and SpaceX to the Interational Space Station on Sunday evening.
Astronauts Victor Glover from NASA, Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker and astronaut Soichi Noguchi from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said goodbye to loved ones before boarding the SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship for the Crew 1 mission, where they will stay in the International Space station for six months.
It launched at 7:27 p.m. EST from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the Falcon rocket thundered into the sky over the Atlantic.
At 7:30 p.m., the stage separation was confirmed, which meant the Crew Dragon separated from the Falcon 9 rocket and headed for the space station.
The kite capsule, which sat on the rocket and was labeled Resilience in light of this year's pandemic and challenges, will spend 27.5 hours in orbit and is due to reach the space station late Monday. It will stay there until spring.
NASA's first operational flight for SpaceX's Crew Dragon as NASA enables commercial rockets to carry astronauts back and forth from the International Space Station, rather than government-run spacecraft.
This is also the second time that SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, has sent humans into orbit in its kite pod and Falcon rocket.
Astronauts from left, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker, and astronaut Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency wave to family members as they exit the Operations and Checkout Building to head to Launch Pad 39-A and get one Plan launch with a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon capsule on a six-month mission to the International Space Station on Sunday, November 15th
Ready to go! The astronauts pictured aboard the Resilience capsule are ready to fly into space
Take off! A look at the SpaceX Falcon9 rocket with the Crew Dragon capsule, which launches above Sunday night, marking the first operational NASA commercial crew mission
The kite pod, which sat on top of the rocket and has been labeled resilience in light of this year's pandemic and challenges, will spend 27.5 hours in orbit and is due to reach the space station late Monday. It will stay there until spring
Vice President Mike Pence shared this snapshot before landing in Florida for takeoff
Musk announced on the eve of launch that he "most likely" has a moderate case of coronavirus and has been forced into quarantine despite mixed results. He was replaced in his official duties at Kennedy by SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell.
& # 39; Matchday! & # 39; NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, the crew commander, tweeted Sunday afternoon before signing up.
Vice President Mike Pence arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center around 6:30 p.m.
& # 39; Welcome to start America. Welcome to the continuation of a new era of human space exploration in America, ”Pence told the guests at a reception before the start. "It's a historic night," said the vice president.
This is only the second time in nearly a decade that US astronauts have been put into orbit.
Musk remained optimistic even though he did not personally participate in the start.
SpaceX crew members of NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, Mike Hopkins and astronaut Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) wave to the launch pad of the Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday
Musk announced on the eve of launch that he "most likely" has a moderate case of coronavirus and has been forced into quarantine. Nevertheless, he was in a good mood on Sunday and tweeted "Astronaut start today!"
"Astronaut launch today!" He tweeted the previous Sunday, adding that he had symptoms of a mild cold last week but was currently feeling "pretty normal". Representatives from California-based SpaceX did not respond to questions about his whereabouts.
“Thank you, Elon! We are ready to serve, ”replied the experienced Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
The launch of Noguchi and three Americans – all but one former resident of the space station – comes just three months after two NASA test pilots successfully completed the first manned flight of a SpaceX Dragon Crew capsule.
The crew is led by NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins, pictured above, an Air Force Colonel, who says goodbye to friends who dropped him off at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday
Other crew members include Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi (left), who is the third person to launch three different types of spacecraft into orbit. NASA astronaut Victor Glover (right), who is also the Navy commander, showed up saying goodbye to family and friends on the Sunday before the start
Physicist Shannon Walker pictured waving to friends and family as she walked to the launch pad to take off on Sunday afternoon
The crew, led by Hopkins, an Air Force Colonel, consists of physicist Shannon Walker and Navy Cmdr. and the rookie astronaut Victor Glover, who will be the first black astronaut to stay on the space station for a long time. Noguchi will only be the third person to launch into orbit aboard three different types of spacecraft.
Glover, who joined the Astronaut Corps in 2013, will be the first black crew member on the space station. Astronauts have lived on the space station for the past 20 years, but the expanded crew never included a black astronaut until Glover.
However, he won't be the first black man on the base. Those who preceded it were members of space shuttle crews who stayed there briefly during the station's construction. According to the New York Times, NASA has only sent 14 black Americans out of a total of more than 300 astronauts into space.
The team of four named their capsule resilience in the face of all the challenges in 2020, especially the global pandemic.
In the beginning there was only a 50:50 chance of sufficiently good weather for the start, which increased to 80 percent good chances by 7 p.m.
The forecast focused only on the local weather for the scheduled 7:27 p.m. launch, not the wind or sea conditions along the east coast or across the North Atlantic to Ireland.
The wind and waves must be kept within limits in case something goes wrong during take-off and the capsule has to cause an emergency splash.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft on board can be seen on the launch pad of Launch Complex 39A on Sunday
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi waves to family members as he and other crew members exit the operations and checkout building to get to the rocket launch pad on Sunday
Members of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's astronaut Soichi Noguchi pose for a photo as the astronauts exit the Operations and Checkout building at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sunday
A NASA helicopter flies past a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad of Launch Complex 39A with the Company's Crew Dragon spacecraft aboard
The rough seas caused SpaceX to accelerate the launch by a day so that the booster landing platform reached its correct position in the Atlantic. The company plans to reuse the first stage booster for the crew's next launch next spring.
NASA turned to private companies to move cargo and crews to the space station after their space shuttles were shut down in 2011. The space agency will save millions by no longer having to buy seats for Russian Soyuz capsules.
Boeing, NASA's other crew transportation provider, has not yet launched any astronauts. The company is still working to overcome software problems after the space debut of its Starliner capsule was damaged last December.
This is the model of the Spacex crew capsule that will house the astronauts
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