Hatch opens as astronauts arrive at International Space Station aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon

3 months 3 weeks 3 days ago Sunday, May 31 2020 May 31, 2020 Sunday, May 31, 2020 12:16:14 PM CDT May 31, 2020 in News
By: Jackie Wattles, CNN Business

(CNN) - SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule has opened its hatch, linking the spacecraft with the International Space Station.

Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are expected to disembark from the spacecraft soon, successfully concluding the first leg of this SpaceX mission. The astronauts are expected to stay on board the International Space Station for one to three months.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft docked at the space station at 10:16 a.m. ET Sunday morning after launching from Florida's Kennedy Space Center Saturday and traveling 19 hours. After making initial contact with the ISS, Crew Dragon went through a series of steps to further mate the spacecraft with its port — including linking power and creating an air-locked seal — before the hatch was opened.

On Sunday morning, the spacecraft made a careful approach and then made a "soft capture" — meaning Crew Dragon made its first physical contact with its docking port at the International Space Station. Crew Dragon then made a "hard capture," which involved using 12 latches to create an air-locked seal between Behnken and Hurley's crew cabin and their entrance to the space station and linked up Crew Dragon's power supply to the ISS.

Compared to the high drama of the launch on Saturday, the docking may have seemed like a slow burn.

At one point, the webcast host mentioned that Crew Dragon was moving a fraction of a meter per second toward its destination. That, however, is only relatively speaking: Both the spacecraft and the space station were still whipping through orbit at more than 17,000 miles per hour (about 27,000 kilometers per hour). But because they were traveling at similar speeds, cameras on board the station made it appear as if Crew Dragon was inching along.

Crew Dragon has a name: Endeavor

Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley gave a tour of their Crew Dragon spacecraft using onboard cameras while the vehicle was making its way toward the International Space Station on Saturday evening.

And they announced a name for the vehicle: Endeavour.

The astronauts picked that name for a few reasons, Hurley said on the webcast. On one hand, the name honors the years-long endeavor that was returning human spaceflight to the United States after the Space Shuttle retired in 2011. And it honors the longtime friendship that Hurley and Behnken have shared, and their histories with NASA: Both astronauts began their spaceflight careers with missions aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. (That vehicle's namesake was an 18th century ship commanded by British explorer James Cook — hence the British spelling of "Endeavour.")

Special cargo: A glittery dinosaur

NASA and SpaceX already revealed that a couple of special artworks were aboard Crew Dragon with the astronauts. But livestream viewers spotted a small, sparkly dinosaur toy on board with Hurley and Behnken as well.

During their update from orbit on Saturday, the astronauts shared what that was all about: They both have young sons who are big fans of dinosaurs, and the astronauts allowed their kids to vote on which of their toys would be stowed away on this mission.

The selection was a blue and pink, sequin-studded Apatosaurus.

What this milestone means

Crew Dragon and the astronauts have now made it through two major milestones — launch and docking — without encountering any major issues. That's a huge win for SpaceX, which has been working toward this moment since the company was founded in 2002.

It's also a point of celebration for NASA, which made the controversial decision to ask the private sector to design vehicles for transportation to the ISS after the Space Shuttlle program retired in 2011. NASA has long partnered with the private sector, but it had never before handed over design, development and testing of a human-rated spacecraft to a commercial company.

After delays, development hiccups and some political roadblocks, a successful first launch of astronauts will mark a huge win for folks within the space agency who hope to continue using more extensive commercial contracts. That includes for NASA's ambitions to put people on the moon in 2024.

More News

Grid
List
Gov. Parson tests positive along with wife for COVID-19 Governor Mike Parson and his wife Teresa Parson tested... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, September 24 2020 Sep 24, 2020 Thursday, September 24, 2020 5:29:00 AM CDT September 24, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri Police Department arrested a man who was carrying a knife near College Avenue and... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, September 24 2020 Sep 24, 2020 Thursday, September 24, 2020 4:48:00 AM CDT September 24, 2020 in News
(AP)- Police say two Louisville, Kentucky, police officers have been shot and wounded during protests over a lack of charges... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 10:21:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Department of Transportation has a shortage of more than 400 plow truck drivers and heavy equipment... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 8:49:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in News
(AP)- The mostly rural Bootheel region of Missouri is seeing high numbers of confirmed cases of the coronavirus, but unlike... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 8:47:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- The Columbia Police Department is asking for people's help in the investigation of 13 unsolved homicides. Those crimes... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 7:48:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in News
(AP)- A 33-year-old central Missouri man is accused of killing his wife by running her over with a truck during... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 7:43:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in News
September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America. The American... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 5:30:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
MISSOURI- On Wednesday, Governor Mike Parson and his wife Teresa Parson tested positive for COVID-19. Gov. Parson is quarantining... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 5:17:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in News
SEDALIA— The Pettis County Sheriff’s Office is reinstating a body camera system, following the deputy involved shooting of Hannah Fizer.... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 5:11:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Mid-Missouri's food pantry for military families and veterans relocated after serving nearly 16 years at the Missouri National... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 4:48:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Mike Parson and his wife Teresa Parson tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. Gov. Parson... More >>
16 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 3:57:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - As Columbia attempts to reopen businesses, movie theaters are slowly trying to make a comeback. Columbia's reopening... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 3:45:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Dr. Randall Williams, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director, will hold a press conference at 4... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 3:38:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - UPDATE: 4 p.m.: Governor Parson has also tested positive for COVID-19, according to governor's Facebook page. The... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 3:08:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia Public Schools parent is trying to expand the scope of the district's free meal program while... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 2:47:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The latest White House Coronavirus Task Force Report shows improvement in the data for Columbia and Boone County,... More >>
19 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 1:32:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - UPDATE 4:55 p.m.: First Lady Teresa Parson tweeted a statement Wednesday afternoon. She reported cold-like symptoms Wednesday... More >>
20 hours ago Wednesday, September 23 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Wednesday, September 23, 2020 12:44:00 PM CDT September 23, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 56°
9am 61°
10am 65°
11am 69°
12pm 72°