Four astronauts from three different countries are on the SpaceX Crew Dragon Spacecraft. Early Saturday morning, it got docked with the International Space Station, as it begins the six-month stay in space with the crew.
This mission, names Crew-2, is the third-ever flight by the company of Elon Musk.
Furthermore, it’s the first one that will use a previously-flown and privately kept rocket booster and spacecraft.
On Friday morning, the astronauts took off from the Kennedy Space Center.
Then for the next 24 hours, it when flying through orbit at more than 17,000 miles per hour, while the Crew Dragon Spacecraft hovered toward the ISS, which orbits above the earth around 250 miles.
The capsule, then on Saturday morning, slowly got in line and movies into the dock of the space station port.
The crew includes Akihiko Hoshide with Japan’s JAXA space agency, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan MacArthur, and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency.
According to the space agency, the main objective behind the astronaut’s mission is to do research using “Tissue chips, or ” small models of the organs of the human body that have various cell types which behave the same way as they would in the body and NASA hopes that this will help to develop drugs and vaccines.
This work will get built on many years of knowledge of biological and other scientific phenomena that are on the ISS, where the microgravity environment will give the scientists a better fundamental knowledge of how things work.
There are already seven astronauts on the station, from which four came on different SpaceX Crew Dragon in November.
Now with Kimbrough, McArthur, Pesquet, and Hoshide joining the other astronauts, the total comes to 11, making it the largest crew that ever got hosted by ISS.
However, that number will return to seven, on April 28, when four from the eleven come back home.
NASA spent more than 10 years on how to boost the staff number in the 21-year-old space station after the Space Shuttle program in 2011 retired and left Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to be the only way the astronauts could go to and come back from ISS.
Russia is getting paid around $90 million per seat for the trips from the United States.
For many years now, SpaceX operated under a fixed-price contract of $2.6 billion, to help develop its Crew Dragon Spacecraft under the Commercial Crew program of NASA.
This for the first time in the history of the space agency, has handed the responsibility of creating and testing a spacecraft worthy of carrying crews to the private sector.
Although the boosters and spacecraft have gotten flown many times on satellite and cargo launches over the past few years. This time it marks the first time of the company in reusing the hardware for a mission with crews.