Astronauts give tour inside Crew Dragon live on NASA TV

Pablo Tucker
November 17, 2020

A SpaceX Crew Dragon is set to rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station for the third time later tonight and its four-astronaut crew took some time during their 27-hour flight to give live viewers a tour of the brand new spacecraft.

NASA Astronaut Suni Williams previews the first crew rotation flight on a US commercial spacecraft.

Besides ending reliance on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft for getting crews to and from the station, commercial crew vehicles like Crew Dragon will enable the station to support seven-person crews for long-duration missions. And so it will go, with SpaceX - and eventually Boeing - transporting astronauts to and from the station for Nasa. The Dragon blasted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center late Sunday.

That will be followed by a "welcome ceremony" at 1:40 am ET on Tuesday, when the crew - NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut with Japan's space agency -- are able to exit their spacecraft for the first time since mid-afternoon Sunday.

"Looks awesome", Mission Control radioed from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif.

The four astronauts named their capsule "resilience" to provide hope and inspiration during an especially hard year for the whole world. The spacecraft will remain docked to the station for six months, with the four astronauts returning home shortly after the launch of the Crew-2 mission on another Crew Dragon spacecraft next spring.

Ms Walker said it was a little tighter for them than for the two astronauts on the test flight.

For the SpaceX launch on Sunday, NASA kept guests to a minimum because of coronavirus, and even Mr Musk had to stay away after tweeting that he "most likely" had an infection.

"It was a very nice night onboard Resilience", Hopkins replied from the capsule, traveling in orbit at roughly 17,500 miles (28,160 km) per hour.

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