The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday (August 27) to transport a new crew of astronauts to the orbiting laboratory to begin a half-year mission.
The Crew Dragon Endurance capsule has docked on the International Space Station (ISS). It’s 9:16 a.m. EDT (1313 GMT), as it parked itself in a port facing space on the U.S.-built Harmony module at the site after circling a wide loop around the orbital outpost. Dragon and the station were rising 261 miles above Australia at the time.
“Thank you very much,” Crew 7 Commander Jasmine Moqbely of NASA said over the radio to SpaceX Mission Control after the successful docking. “I always have to remind myself that this is not a dream.”
The docking marks the end of a nearly 30-hour journey for the four-person capsule crew, which lifted off in the early hours of Saturday from NASA’s Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. But it’s also the beginning of something bigger, a six-month assignment for Moqbeli and her three crewmates.
“This is the first step in the journey, the real mission starts now,” Crew-7 pilot Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency told SpaceX over a radio. “Aboard the International Space Station, we have a lot of work to look forward to.”
Crew-7 astronauts cleared the way between the Dragon spacecraft and the International Space Station at 10:58 AM EDT (1458 GMT) to join the seven astronauts already aboard the station. Then all eleven astronauts gathered for a short welcome ceremony to begin their joint mission.
SpaceX’s Crew-7 mission for NASA sent Mobley to the International Space Station with a truly international crew: pilot Mogensen of the European Space Agency; and mission specialists Konstantin Borisov of Russia’s Roscosmos agency and Satoshi Furukawa of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The Quartet is the first fully international crew, comprising members from four different agencies and countries, to fly on the same Dragon capsule.
This mission is the seventh operational commercial crewed flight for NASA by SpaceX, and the company’s eighth for the US space agency overall (including a crewed test flight). It is SpaceX’s 11th manned mission when it has included three private astronaut flights in recent years. SpaceX is one of two private companies with multi-billion dollar contracts to fly astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA. (Boeing is the other company, with its first crewed test flight delayed to early 2024.)
The Crew-7 astronauts will spend six months on the space station and comfort the four astronauts of NASA’s Crew-6 mission, who are scheduled to return to Earth on Sept. 2.
Crew-7 is the first space flight for Moqbali, a lieutenant colonel in the US Marine Corps who became the second Iranian-American to fly into space on the flight. It is also Borisov’s first flight.
Related: Meet the Crew-7 astronauts who fly with SpaceX
While Morgensen and Furukawa have flown to the International Space Station before, Morgensen is the first European ever to pilot a SpaceX Dragon capsule. SpaceX’s Endurance capsule is also an astronaut, having flown Crew-3 and Crew-5 astronaut missions to the station for NASA.
NASA and SpaceX gave a special treat to Crew-7’s arrival at the International Space Station on Sunday.
“We’re going to take a walk around the International Space Station and get some great pictures and hand them out to everyone to show how great a site we have,” Joel Montalbano, NASA’s space station program manager, told reporters after the flight. launch.
The flyby also allowed cameras on the space station to capture stunning views of the Dragon Endurance capsule with the blue Earth in the background.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 27 to reflect the successful docking of SpaceX’s Crew-7 Dragon capsule with its crew of four astronauts.
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