(NEW YORK) — Four astronauts from three countries docked at the International Space Station Saturday morning after launching from the Florida coast early Friday as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission.
After about a 23-hour ride, the Crew Dragon spacecraft docked at the ISS at 5:08 a.m. Saturday for the second time.
“Soft capture confirmed! Crew Dragon Endeavour arrived at the @Space_Station for the second time in its history,” NASA tweeted Saturday.
The hatch is scheduled to open at 7:15 a.m., with the welcome ceremony begging at 7:45 a.m. Saturday.
“Watching a launch from Kennedy Space Center never gets old for me. I’ve watched many launches and watching a pre-dawn launch is especially exciting and just visually stunning,” NASA’s acting administrator, Steve Jurczyk, said at a post-launch news conference Friday morning. “I could not be more proud of the team.”
The crew is composed of NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
Friday’s launch marked only the third time that Elon Musk’s private space-faring firm has flown astronauts.
It also ushered in a new era of reusability in human space exploration, as the mission uses the same Falcon 9 rocket that sent four astronauts to the ISS last November and the same Crew Dragon spacecraft that sent and returned two astronauts during the first crewed SpaceX flight last May.
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