DR. SKY BLOG

SpaceX launches 4 astronauts to ISS in Crew Dragon capsule

Nov 18, 2020, 1:45 PM
In this photo provided by NASA, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecr...

In this photo provided by NASA, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi onboard, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (Aubrey Gemignani/NASA via AP)

(Aubrey Gemignani/NASA via AP)

NASA has just launched four astronauts to the ISS, on the new Crew Dragon capsule!

This marks the return of a reliable launch system for the future, without depending on the previous Russian launches on the Soyuz platform.

The launch occurred at 5:27 p.m. Arizona time Sunday.

This was an amazing launch seen in person by many, along with television viewers, like that of the Apollo 17 night launch in 1972.

The four-person crew is made up of Commander Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

The flight to the ISS will take some 27 hours, which is longer than the 14 hours of the past experimental Dragon mission, back in mid-2020.

This mission was launched from the famous Apollo-era launch pad 39.

During the long life of this pad and others nearby, NASA launched 82 space shuttle missions from this location.

The Dragon crew is expected to arrive at the ISS on Monday around 9 p.m. Arizona time and remain on the space station for the next six months.

When the Dragon crew reaches the station, there will be a total of seven humans on board, stretching the available sleeping quarters for all members.

With six sleeping stations on the station, Hopkins will sleep in the capsule until additional equipment arrives on future cargo missions to the station.

Here
is what the Dragon crew capsule looks like.

Here is a detailed look at the inside of the Dragon Crew capsule.

Here is the mission patch for this historic mission to the ISS.

Did you know that you can see many of these manmade satellites right here from our Arizona skies?

To find out what objects are visible from any location on Earth, you can click on the Heavens Above website and add your city, etc.

You will see a populated list of many objects that are visible in both the evening and morning skies of your designated location.

The ISS is the brightest of the objects in space, along with many that are just as interesting and many that require a pair of binoculars to view.

Some lucky observers around the world can actually view the Dragon capsule, as it approaches the ISS and then docks.

Finally, here is a listing of future Space X launches, some to the ISS and many with the Starlink satellites that populate the skies of the Earth.

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

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SpaceX launches 4 astronauts to ISS in Crew Dragon capsule