Baby Yoda tags along on SpaceX's first operational mission for NASA

Pablo Tucker
November 16, 2020

NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts are en route to the International Space Station following a successful launch on the first NASA-certified commercial human spacecraft system in history. The launch was Sunday night at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

If you watched any of yesterday's SpaceX/NASA launch for a 5-6 month stay at the International Space Station (ISS) you got to learn a bit about Mike Hopkins and the other three astronauts who make up the crew.

The nighttime launch lit up the sky over Brevard County to the delight of thousands of spectators lining the coast. Fortunately, the Crew Dragon uses only touchscreen controls, which is good since we know how much Baby Yoda loves flipping switches. "Have an fantastic trip and know that we are all for one".

Mission commander Mike Hopkins responded, saying "to all the people at NASA and SpaceX, by working together through these hard times, you've inspired the nation the world". "Crew-1 for all". It represents a new era of commercially developed spacecraft - owned and operated by a private entity rather than NASA - for sending Americans into orbit. Following the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011, Nasa awarded SpaceX and Boeing Co almost $7 billion in contracts to build new transport systems to the space station, an orbiting laboratory about 400 km above Earth, as part of the agency's Commercial Crew programme.

SpaceX Astronauts Had A Friend On Their Flight Last Night: Baby Yoda

Resilience will dock autonomously to the forward port of the station's Harmony module about 11 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16.

The foursome named their capsule Resilience in recognition of the trying year 2020 has been amid a global coronavirus pandemic that's claimed more than 246,000 American lives and national unrest amid a contentious presidential election.

SpaceX plans to reuse the booster in the latest mission on its next crewed flight, which is scheduled to launch next year carrying another crew of four astronauts.

But NASA doesn't intend to rely exclusively on SpaceX or want to be the only entity doing launches.

Six years later, Resilience's launch is the completion of that agreement and now SpaceX will be NASA's primary launch provider, costing the agency just shy of $55 million dollars per seat.

The near-future may also see regular citizens, not just professional astronauts, be able to go to space - if they can afford it. We need to keep going.

-Crew commander Mike Hopkins, 51, is an Air Force colonel and former space station resident who grew up on a hog and cattle farm in Missouri.

NASA turned to private companies to haul cargo and crews to the space station, following the 2011 retirement of its space shuttles.

"Our astronauts have been in quarantine for weeks, and they should not have had contact with anybody", NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said on Friday.

"The big milestone here is that we are now moving away from development and test and into operational flights".

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