Florida: Four astronauts – three from the US and one from Japan – took off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a SpaceX rocket on early Monday morning and are headed for the International Space Station(ISS). The crew is riding a rocket and capsule provided by the SpaceX company and this is the first fully operational mission for a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, reported CNN. Also Read - NASA Lends 3.9-Billion-Year-Old Moon Rock For Display in Oval Office of The White House
The four astronauts making their way up to the ISS are the NASA’s Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker and the highly experienced Japanese space agency (Jaxa) astronaut Soichi Noguchi. The astronauts are headed for a six-month long stay on the International Space Station. Also Read - Key NASA Rocket Test Cut Short Due To Early Engine Shutdown
According to a BBC report, by taking part in this mission, astronaut Noguchi becomes the third person in history to leave Earth in three different types of space vehicle, having previously flown on Soyuz and shuttle hardware. Also Read - NASA Approves Two New Missions to Explore the Sun in 2021 | Details
This launch marks SpaceX’s second astronaut launch overall. The first Crew Dragon to launch humans, which was still considered a test mission, took off in May.
Soon after the liftoff, US President-elect Joe Biden took to Twitter and congratulated the team on its launch. He wrote, “Congratulations to NASA and SpaceX on today’s launch. It’s a testament to the power of science and what we can accomplish by harnessing our innovation, ingenuity, and determination. I join all Americans and the people of Japan in wishing the astronauts Godspeed on their journey.”
In honor of the stressful time the world is going through, the Crew Dragon is named “Resilience”. Just minutes before takeoff, astronaut Mike Hopkins who is leading the crew said to the Mission Control, “By working together on these difficult times, you’ve inspired the nation and the world…. Now it’s time for us to do our part. Crew-1 for all.”