Blast off: SpaceX heads to the International Space Station

Rodiano Bonacci
Gennaio 25, 2021

After an exected 8 hour and 30-minute flight into orbit, these four astronauts will then rendezvous with the Space Station, where they will join the Expedition 64 crew for a almost 6-month stay on board the station.

They joined two Russians and one American who flew to the International Space Station last month from Kazakhstan. If SpaceX's Crew-1 Crew Dragon and CRS-21 Cargo Dragon launches are successful, the private USA company will effectively become the backbone of U.S. spaceflight, nearly singlehandedly reasserting the country's position as a competitive space power.

Four astronauts lifted off Sunday night from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a SpaceX rocket bound for the International Space Station.

Onboard the Dragon are NASA's astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Basically, the winds were expected to make a Saturday launch more hard, and the water surface conditions out on the Atlantic would have made recovery of the Falcon 9 first stage more treacherous. Late Friday afternoon, the mission team made a decision to delay the launch by a day due to the expected weather conditions during Saturday's launch window.

According to AP, SpaceX owner Elon Musk was forced to watch from afar to track the action due to COVID-19.

NASA policy is that anyone testing positive for the virus to quarantine and remain isolated. "Falcon 9 looked great, Dragon was dropped off into a lovely orbit about 12 minutes into the mission, and we'll get more data as we go".

While Demo-2 was the first crewed spaceflight to launch from USA soil since the final Space Shuttle mission in 2011 (STS-135), Crew-1 is the first operational mission that will ferry astronauts to the ISS for a long duration stay.

SpaceX-NASA launch is 'the dawn of a new era': David Saint-JacquesCBC News2 months agoVideo7:34
SpaceX-NASA launch is 'the dawn of a new era': David Saint-JacquesCBC News2 months agoVideo7:34

They rode out to the launch pad in Teslas - another Musk company product - after exchanging high-fives and embraces with their children and spouses, who huddled at the open vehicle windows.

Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi will become the third person to rocket into orbit aboard three different kinds of spacecraft.

Crew Dragon capsule C207 prepares for SpaceX's operational astronaut launch debut, November 8th. Previous space capsules have launched with no more than three.

Speaking in a November 10th press teleconference focused first and foremost on Crew Dragon's imminent operational launch debut, SpaceX executive Benji Reed - taking a well-earned stance of confidence - revealed some impressive details about what to expect from Dragon going forward.

The first-stage booster - aiming for an ocean platform several minutes after liftoff - is expected to be recycled by SpaceX for the next crew launch.

This is the first time NASA has launched a human spaceflight mission from American soil since the Space Shuttle Program in 2011.

"Bottom line: I think it's just better for us to be flying from the United States if we can do that", he said last week.

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