SpaceX along with Nasa launched a recycled capsule and rocket into the International Space Station with four astronauts on board. This is the third launch for Elon Musk’s SpaceX within a year. The astronauts are from the US, France, and Japan.
They are expected to reach the ISS by Saturday early in the morning, after finishing a 23-hour long ride in the Dragon Capsule. The astronauts would spend nearly six months in the orbiting lab. The capsule happens to be the same one used in May last year for the company’s very first crew.
A tweet from SpaceX on the 23rd of April read, “Dragon has separated from Falcon 9’s stage and is on its way to the space station!” The tweet further read that the autonomous tracking would start on the 24th of April from 5.10 AM EDT.
This is the first reuse of a rocket and capsule by SpaceX to take Nasa’s astronauts into ISS. The company already proved its capability towards station supply runs. The rocket used now was previously used on SpaceX’s second astronaut launch in November last year.
SpaceX restored the thermal shielding and some valves of this automated spacecraft and placed additional parachutes on the capsule. These parachutes were named after a retired shuttle from Nasa, i.e., Endeavour. Apart from these, the flight would remain the same one that flew in November.
Spacecraft commander Shane Kimbrough and his team signed their initials on the rocket’s suit a few weeks ago, in a move to set a tradition and accept the change.
It is a recalling situation for the astronaut Megan McArthur as she was launched in the same capsule and seat where her husband Bob Behnken was launched in SpaceX’s debut crew flight. While it was for Bob and their 7-year-old son to say goodbye, Megan showered kisses and virtual hugs to them.
The other astronauts accompanying Megan onboard were Thomas Pesquet from France, Akihiko Hoshide from Japan. Thomas became the first European to take off in a commercial crew capsule.
Elon Musk met the astronauts at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center before they got into the gull-winged Teslas in white coming from Musk’s Tesla. The astronauts’ families flocked around the cars for the last meet just before the caravan pulled off.
Nasa restricted the guests’ number owing to Covid-19. Billionaire Jared Isaacman bought a three-day flight and spectated the Falcon while it was leaving with three other people accompanying him. These people happen to be SpaceX company’s next passengers. Their capsule, which is still at the space station will return to the Earth on Wednesday bringing four astronauts. The capsule will then be revived well before its next flight in September.