Four astronauts riding a newly designed spacecraft from Elon Musk’s SpaceX docked with the International Space Station Monday night, in the first crewed mission on a privately built space capsule purchased by NASA.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, dubbed Resilience by its crew of three Americans and one Japanese astronaut, docked at 11:01 p.m. EST (7:01 GMT), 27 hours after launching atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
“Oh, what a good voice to hear,” space station astronaut Kate Rubins called out when the Dragon’s commander, Mike Hopkins, first made radio contact. “We can’t wait to have you on board,” she added after the two spacecraft were latched together.
The space station, an orbital laboratory about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, will be their home for the next six months. After that, another set of astronauts on a Crew Dragon capsule will replace them. That rotation will continue until Boeing joins the program with its own spacecraft late next year.
The Resilience crew includes Crew Dragon commander Mike Hopkins and two fellow NASA astronauts: mission pilot Victor Glover and physicist Shannon Walker. They are joined by Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, making his third trip to space after previously flying on the U.S. shuttle in 2005 and Soyuz in 2009.
“Looks amazing,” Mission Control radioed from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
“It looks amazing from up here, too,” Hopkins replied.