US astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have anchored the International Space Station (ISS) and entered. Connected to the bow portion of the orbital lab 422 km above China, their Dragon capsule-supplied and run by the private SpaceX firm. The pair disembarked to join the Russian and American crew on the ISS already after a wait for leak, pressure and temperature inspections.
Hurley and Behnken started off Saturday from Florida. Theirs is the first crew trip launched from American soil since US space agency (Nasa) shuttles were retired nine years ago. The mission signals the beginning of a new period in which Nasa will be buying transport services from the private sector. The American vehicles which run to and from the station will no longer own and operate it. This will be done exclusively by companies such as Hawthorne, California’s SpaceX, which is headed by Elon Musk, a tech billionaire.
Verification of the Dragon’s ISS attachment came at 14:16 GMT (15:16 BST) on Sunday, 19 hours after leaving the Kennedy Space Center on top of a SpaceX Falcon rocket. The docking was a completely automated process; there was no need for Hurley and Behnken to get involved-though they had some manual approach flying.
ISS Commander Greeted Nasa Astronaut Chris Cassidy
Dragon’s doors to the ISS were opened at 17:02 GMT (18:02 BST). They were greeted by ISS Commander and fellow Nasa astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner as Hurley and Behnken floated in.
The pair were well-rested and ready for the tasks ahead, Bob Behnken said.
Last year, SpaceX flew the first demonstration of its new crew spacecraft but it only had a dummy on board. This sortie is the first to have the human carriage. The job for Hurley and Behnken on the project is to check all onboard systems and give engineers their input. SpaceX and Nasa need a clean crew demonstration to move quickly. It is to the next phase of the company’s $2.6bn (£2.1bn) contract. It will include six “taxi” astronaut flights, the first of which is expected to take place at the end of August.
Hurley and Behnken will Stay at the ISS
The crew of the Atlantis orbiter left this flag as an inspiration to all those who came after them. The flag, which also flew in 1981 on the very first shuttle flight, is now returned to Earth. It is to be provided to the mission that goes further than Earth’s orbit next.
Earlier in the time-honoured tradition of US spacefarers, Hurley and Behnken named their Dragon rocket. They named it “Endeavour,” partly to honour the new direction being set by Nasa and her business partners. But also to recognize Shuttle Endeavour ‘s previous contribution to American space operations. It is on which both Hurley and Behnken worked in the late 2000s. It’s a bit uncertain how long Hurley and Behnken. It will remain at the ISS, but maybe as long as four months.
We would become members of the new ISS Expedition 63 crew. It is taking part in the day-to-day research and maintenance operations of the station during that period. Chris Cassidy joked that they had skipped the cleaning duties. It usually takes place on a Saturday, as his new crewmates came on a Sunday.