SpaceX marked another milestone for private spacecraft. The Company’s Successful Crew Dragon moored with the International Space Station at 5:08 a.m. EST, making it the company’s first reused crew capsule to reach the orbiting platform and the first crewed mission with a reused Falcon 9 rocket . the Astronauts Crew-2 themselves made history when they started boarding at 7:15 a.m.ET – this was the first time SpaceX had carried passengers from three different agencies (NASA, ESA, and JAXA), let alone the first for NASA in two decades.
Mission chief Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, ESA’s Thomas Pesquet and JAXA’s Akihiko Hoshide will remain on the ISS for approximately six months to conduct experiments. The station now has 11 people on board (which hasn’t happened since the space shuttle era), although that won’t last long with Crew-1 four astronauts were due to return on April 28.
Expect this to be relatively common in the future. SpaceX has already hosted ISS aligned missions through 2023, including a fully private flight (AX-1) currently scheduled for January 2022. Crew-2 docking is a big step forward for private spacecraft to become frequent sites in orbit, whether they encounter the ISS or carry out civilian missions.
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