UPDATE NOV. 16: The SpaceX Crew Dragon craft Resilience successfully docked to the International Space Station – 250 miles (400 km) above Earth’s surface, over the U.S. state of Idaho – at 11:01 p.m. EST Monday (04:01 UTC Tuesday), transporting NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi. The Crew-1 astronauts join Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA, and station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos, who arrived at the station October 14. Congratulations to all! Read more from NASA.
UPDATE NOV. 15: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying Crew-1 launched successfully at 7:27 p.m. EST Sunday, November 15 (00:27 UTC Monday) from NASA’s historic Pad 39 in Florida, and then returned to Earth for an Atlantic Ocean landing on the drone ship named Just Read the Instructions. The Crew Dragon capsule carrying the astronauts will dock with the International Space Station on Monday, November 16, at 11:00 p.m. EST (04:00 UTC on November 17). Go to NASA TV for continuing coverage on the action.
ORIGINAL POST BEGINS HERE:
Note: The Saturday, November 14, 2020, SpaceX launch has been delayed to Sunday, due to weather at the rocket booster’s landing location.
SpaceX is now targeting 7:27 p.m. EST on Sunday, November 15, 2020 (that’s 00:27 UTC on the following date), for the launch of Crew-1 via a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Crew-1 is the first operational, contracted mission to launch as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. If all goes according to plan, the Crew Dragon – which the Crew-1 astronauts nicknamed Resilience – will dock with the International Space Station on Monday. The docking is now scheduled for Monday, November 16, at 11 p.m. EST (4 UTC on November 17).
Live launch coverage will begin at 20:30 UTC (3:30 p.m. EST), which you can stream anywhere via NASA TV or the SpaceX website. The launch date is subject to change, however, depending on weather and technical factors; it’s been previously delayed from October due to technical issues concerning Merlin rocket engines on the Falcon 9.
The Crew-1 spaceflyers – NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins and Shannon Walker and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi – will stay on board the space station for a six-month mission, and have already begun their final preparations before liftoff. Their shiny new Falcon 9 ride to orbit rolled out to Pad 39A overnight on November 10 for a planned prelaunch static fire test. That test is a part of normal launch procedures for SpaceX and ensures that the rocket is ready for flight.
Crew-1 will be the first four-person crew to fly in a Dragon, and the mission will help NASA and SpaceX fine-tune procedures to make sure that future flights run smoothly. Having four people spend more than eight hours in a small pod may easily pose logistical challenges. Passenger Hopkins said in a statement:
We’re ready for this launch, we’re ready for our six months of work that is waiting for us on board the International Space Station, and we’re ready for the return. Thank you to all the people at NASA and SpaceX and around the world that have helped us get to this point.
In May of this year, Crew Dragon completed its first crewed flight, a test mission called Demo-2 that carried NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS for a two-month stay. But Crew-1 is quite different: Behnken and Hurley’s flight to the station lasted approximately 19 hours, more than twice as long as Crew-1’s trip is scheduled to take. The Crew-1 flight should be short enough that the astronauts won’t need to sleep on the way, although that could change if the launch is delayed.
Bottom line: The Crew Dragon capsule carrying four astronauts docked with the International Space Station on Monday, November 16, at 11:01 p.m. EST (04:01 UTC on November 17), after it launched successfully at 7:27 p.m. EST Sunday, November 15 (00:27 UTC Monday) from NASA’s historic Pad 39 in Florida.
Lia Rovira is a Physics graduate and Editorial Assistant of EarthSky, contributing also as a field correspondent with a long-time passion for space exploration that began early in her college career. She started her blog SkyFeed in 2018, which earned a mention in Feedspot’s “Top 50 Space Blogs to Follow," has been published in Smore Magazine, and led her to launch a communications career in tandem with her planetary passion. She currently resides in Southern California with her fiancé and small pug pup.