Astronauts arrive at International Space Station after historic ride on SpaceX craft

SpaceX's Dragon module to dock with International Space Station on Monday
Posted at 2:45 PM, Nov 16, 2020

One day after launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the four-person “Resilience” crew successfully docked with the International Space Station on Monday evening.

Twelve minutes after Sunday’s launch, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket separated from the Dragon module. Dragon then began its orbit around the Earth Sunday night as it continued to progress toward the International Space Station.

The three US-based astronauts, and a Japanese astronaut, are part of a mission that includes a number of aeronautical firsts, according to NASA, including:

The first flight of the NASA-certified commercial system designed for crew transportation, which moves the system from development into regular flights;

  • The first international crew of four to launch on an American commercial spacecraft
  • The first time the space station’s long-duration expedition crew size will increase from six to seven crew members, which will add to the crew time available for research
  • The first time the Federal Aviation Administration has licensed a human orbital spaceflight launch.

“Watching this mission launch is a special moment for NASA and our SpaceX team,” said Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “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.”

"This mission was a dream, it was a dream of us to be able to one day be able to have crew transporation services to ISS and today that dream became a reality," said Kathy Lueders, NASA's Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations. "And then on top of it, one of the first we had was we all had to do this in the time of a pandemic. I think there were some of us 6 or 7 months ago that if you would've thought about all the things this team had to go through, they would've just said 'oh it's too much.' But it wasn't."