Four SpaceX astronauts reach International Space Station after historic launch


Four SpaceX astronauts reach International Space Station after historic launch

Four astronauts carried into orbit by a SpaceX Crew Dragon boarded the International Space Station on Tuesday, the first of what NASA hopes will be many routine missions ending US reliance on Russian rockets.

The “Resilience” spacecraft docked autonomously with the space station some 260 miles above the Midwestern US state of Ohio at4am GMT on Monday, completing a 27.5-hour journey.

The crew’s three Americans – Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker – along with Japan’s Soichi Noguchi, each floated in zero gravity through a hatch and onto the ISS, where they were cheered and embraced by the station’s three crew members.

“Thank you for letting me get to say hello to you all,” said NASA chief of human spaceflight programs Kathy Leuders, in a video message beamed up to the astronauts. “I just want to tell you how proud we are of you.”

Earlier, mission commander Hopkins gave pilot Glover his “gold pin,” a NASA tradition when an astronaut first crosses the 100-kilometer Karman line marking the official boundary of space.

Glover is the first Black astronaut to make an extended stay at the ISS, while Noguchi is the first non-American to fly to orbit on a private spaceship.

The crew joins two Russians and one American aboard the station, and will stay for six months.

SpaceX briefly transmitted live images from inside the capsule showing the astronauts in their seats, something neither the Russians nor the Americans had done before.

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