A little more than a day after its launch, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, with four astronauts on board, successfully arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) at 1:01 am on Brasilia time on Tuesday (17), according to US space agency NASA.
After docking, American astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, as well as Japanese Soichi Noguchi floated in zero gravity through the hatch to the interior of the ISS, where they were greeted with shouts and hugs by the three members of the station, two Russians and an American.
When Crew Dragon commander Hopkins made radio contact, the American astronaut aboard the ISS exclaimed, “Oh, what a good voice to hear,” according to the Associated Press. Soon after, the spacecraft owner, Elon Musk, tweeted on Earth: “Docking confirmed – Crew Dragon arrived at @space_station!”.
A milestone in the history of private space transport
The trip represented a milestone for private space transport. For the first time in history, NASA astronauts use a commercial vehicle from a private company to safely and reliably reach space. The “Resilience” capsule was launched by a Falcon 9 rocket, breaking the hegemony of almost a decade of Russian flights with Soyuz.
The success of the venture points to a reality in which, instead of relying on “public” transportation of spaceships, NASA astronauts and other space agencies, as well as occasional tourists, will simply be able to buy their ticket on a commercial rocket bound for the cosmos.
In addition to transporting the four astronauts to the ISS, Space X already has two manned flights, also in partnership with NASA, scheduled for next year. In addition, four more missions will be carried out in the next 15 months, all to refuel the Space Station.