SpaceX and NASA completed its Crew-1 mission by launching four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in the evening of 16 November 2020 Sunday at 00:27:17 UTC, (7:27:17 p.m. EST on the 15th). The astronauts on board were Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, and Victor Glover from NASA, and a Japanese astronaut, Soichi Noguchi.
The spacecraft could carry 8 people on it instead it took 4 people. It is the first time four astronauts have flown together in a spacecraft.
On November 10, 2020, Nasa certified Space X Transport System to fly with astronauts for regular space flights. After the launch on Sunday, NASA moved one more step ahead in modern times human space flights where the private companies will get a chance to bond up with the government to make rockets and spacecraft for various space missions.
The rocket of the Space X Falcon 9 started with its nine engines at 7:27pm est from launchpad 39A. As the rocket had some issue during the launch so it launched 10 minutes later. After the launch, the rocket booster returned to the earth and landed over a ship as it could be re-used on another mission. For both NASA and Space X the importance of this mission is –
- It is the first flight of the NASA-certified commercial system designed for crew transportation, which will allow for regular flights in the upcoming days.
- The first launch with four crew on an American spacecraft.
- This is the first time the space station’s long duration expedition crew will increase from six to seven crew members, increasing the manpower for research.
- It is the first time the Federal Aviation Administration has licensed a human orbital spaceflight launch.
Steve Stich said “Watching this mission launch is a special moment for NASA and our SpaceX team. We are looking forward to getting this crew to station to continue our important work, and I want to thank the teams for the amazing effort to make the next generation of human space transportation possible.”
During the mission, the spacecraft was commanded by Space X from its mission control center in Hawthorne, California, and the NASA team monitored space station action through the flight from the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
JAXA vice president Hiroshi Sasaki said “It is an honor to have our Japanese astronaut launch on this Crew-1 Dragon as the first astronaut of the International Partner participating in the ISS program. We look forward to having him conduct lots of science and demonstrate the technology, for here on Earth and for the future. I would also like to thank NASA and SpaceX for their tremendous effort to make this happen.”
The objectives of the mission are as follows –
- Crew will conduct maintenance and many finding from the space station and return in spring 2021.
- The mission is delivering 500 pounds of cargo, latest science hardware and experiments inside, including Food Physiology, the study for a proper diet in space without affecting the health of the crews on a mission. Adding to it Genes in Space-7, an experiment that will conclude to understand how spaceflight affects brain function, which will help astronauts in the future missions.
- During the six months, the long-stay study will be conducted using the chips with tissue that mimics the arrangement and function of human organs to get defined findings of microgravity on human health and convert those findings to improve human health.
- Growing food like radishes in different types of conditions in the ongoing mission will help to find out methods to produce food in space.
- Testing of a new system to abolish heat from NASA’s next-generation spacesuit.
- During the stay, Crew 1 astronauts will be welcoming many uncrewed spacecraft that includes the SpaceX Cargo Dragon spacecraft, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus, and the Boeing CST-100 Starliner.
Few Spacewalks will also be conducted which will embrace the crews of the Russian Soyuz vehicle and the next SpaceX Crew Dragon in 2021.
The mission conclusion will help to determine many future aspects of space travel. It is been 20 years since humans have continuously been working on the space station and improved the technologies and science regarding space that was not well known before and it is expected this mission will also play a vital role in the upcoming future missions to the Moon and, later, to Mars
Source – nasa,