SpaceX: NASA Aims for Historic Launch Nov 16, 2020 7:08:43 GMT
Post by Admin on Nov 16, 2020 7:08:43 GMT
SpaceX launched four astronauts on a flight to the International Space Station on Sunday, NASA’s first full-fledged mission to send a crew into orbit on board a privately owned spacecraft.
SpaceX’s newly designed Crew Dragon capsule, which the crew has dubbed Resilience, lifted off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 7:27pm eastern time (00:27 GMT on Monday) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
“That was one heck of a ride,” astronaut Mike Hopkins said from Crew Dragon to SpaceX mission control about an hour after liftoff. “There was a lot of smiles.”
Crew Dragon will gradually raise its orbit for the next 27 hours through a series of onboard thruster firings, aiming to dock at the International Space Station at 11pm eastern time on Monday (04:00 GMT).
An air leak caused an unexpected drop in capsule pressure less than two hours before launch, NASA officials said. But technicians said they conducted a successful leak check and the scheduled launch was still on.
The 27-hour ride to the space station, an orbiting laboratory some 250 miles (400 kilometres) above Earth was originally scheduled to begin on Saturday. But the launch was postponed for a day due to forecasts of gusty winds – remnants of Tropical Storm Eta – that would have made a return landing for the Falcon 9’s reusable booster stage difficult, NASA officials said.
The astronauts donned their custom white flight suits and arrived at the Kennedy Space Center launch pad on schedule at 4:30pm (21:30 GMT) in three white Tesla SUVs, flanked by NASA and SpaceX personnel.
SpaceX mission operator Jay Aranha, speaking from the company’s Hawthorne, California headquarters, told the crew to “have an amazing trip, and know that we are all for one”.