A crew of four astronauts arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday (November 8) ahead of SpaceX’s second astronaut launch for NASA this week.
NASA astronauts Victor GloverMichael Hopkins and Shannon Walker, along with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, both showed a smile as they stepped off a previously parked plane at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Their duties, called Crew-1, will see the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch Crew Dragon spaceship during the 8.5 hour trip to the International Space Station. Liftoff is set up on Saturday (November 14) at 7:49 pm EST (0049 GMT Nov. 15) from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida – if Weather permitting.
Live updates: SpaceX astronaut Crew-1 launches for NASA
For NASA, this flight marks the highly anticipated start of regular crew flights at the International Space Station, with private companies transporting astronauts. There will be double the number of crew members on this flight Demo-2 test flight earlier this year, and the mission will last for six months.
“We flew here by plane today, but the plan was to fly with rockets,” Glover said, in front of a small crowd of onlookers. Unlike Hopkins, Walker and Noguchi, this will be his first flight.
When asked how he feels about the upcoming launch, Glover said, “It’s hard to put it into words, it’s surreal. I’m so excited to go into space. We have a wonderful spaceship. and will join a great team. “
Glover, Hopkins, Walker and Noguchi will be joining the three astronauts already on the space station. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, along with Russian astronauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Serchkov Launched onto the Russian Soyuz spacecraft on October 21. The Crew-1 astronauts will join them on November 15, if all goes according to plan.
The group of four astronauts departed from Ellington Fields near Johnson Space Center in Houston on Sunday morning and flew to Kennedy on a charter plane. Upon arrival, they were greeted by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard, Center Director Bob Cabana, and JAXA’s International Space Station program manager, Junichi Sakai.
“I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to welcome a crew here to space again,” said Bob Cabana, director of the Kennedy Space Center, welcoming the crew. .
The mission will be the second SpaceX crew flight for NASA, following the successful Demo-2 flight launched in May and part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. This flight is the first operational mission of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, a commercial spaceship designed to bring astronauts to and from low Earth orbit.
It will also mark the first time that an astronaut from one of NASA’s international partners will be on board SpaceX Dragon crew. JAXA, the Japanese space agency, is sending one of its veteran astronauts on his third flight to the ISS. “What a wonderful feeling to be here,” said Noguchi. “It’s a long way, but Crew-1 is already in town and we’re the only game in town this week.”
“Prime Crew at KSC, is the best part of the astronaut’s life,” he added.
Originally scheduled for October 31, The mission was delayed for two weeks to allow SpaceX to resolve an engine problem that occurred during a recent GPS mission. SpaceX determined that the abnormality was due to some residual lacquer coating designed to protect sensitive engine parts during anti-corrosion treatment.
SpaceX swapped out one of the engines on the Crew-1 boosters, scheduled for a static fire test ahead of launch on Tuesday (November 10). The test was initially scheduled to take place on Monday (November 9), but missed 24 hours because of Tropical Storm Eta, which is expected to bring rain to the area this week.
The astronauts named their Dragon capsule “ResilienceHopkins said: “In light of all the challenges of 2020.” It has been a difficult year for everyone for various reasons. “We feel that if the name of our car can give a little hope, a little inspiration a smile on people’s faces, then that’s definitely what we want to do.”
That sentiment is also shown in the patch of the mission. There is no name or flag on the patch. Instead, it features symbols on the lower bezel in tribute to four previous US spacecraft that carried astronauts – Space Shuttle, Apollo, Gemini and Mercury.
“Our mission is for everyone,” said Noguchi. “All for one, one for all. Fly.”
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