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Crew-1 Updates

Updated: Nov 17

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 Astronauts Arrive at Space Station Crew-1 Commander Mike Hopkins (seen from the rear on the left) and Pilot Victor Glover (right) watch their screens as the Crew Dragon Resilience approaches the International Space Station just before docking on Nov. 16, 2020. Crew-1 launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 15. The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience successfully docked to the International Space Station at 11:01 p.m. EST Monday, transporting NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

The hatches opened about 1:10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, and the Crew-1 astronauts will join Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA, and station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos, who arrived to the station Oct. 14.


Crew Dragon Docks to Station, Hatches Open Soon

NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi arrived at the International Space Station Monday, as the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience docked to the complex a 11:01pm EST over Idaho.

Following Crew Dragon’s link up to the Harmony module, the astronauts aboard the Resilience and the space station will begin conducting standard leak checks and pressurization between the spacecraft in preparation for hatch opening scheduled for 1:10 a.m.

Hopkins, Glover, Walker, and Noguchi will join the Expedition 64 crew of Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, both of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA.


The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resiliance is set to dock with the Internation Space Station at 11pm EST

Tune-In LIVE Below



LAUNCH DAY PHOTO GALLERY


NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts are en route to the International Space Station following a successful launch on the first NASA-certified commercial human spacecraft system in history. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission lifted off at 7:27 p.m. EST Sunday from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelled the Crew Dragon spacecraft with NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), into orbit to begin a six-month science mission aboard the space station.

After reaching orbit, mission teams and the crew prepared for their continued journey to the space station. Teams on the ground moved the spacecraft, named Resilience, into the proper configuration for the trip, and the crew removed their SpaceX spacesuits and prepared the cabin as they wind down their first day in space.

SpaceX engineers completed troubleshooting on heater controls associated with Crew Dragon’s propellant system, and updated the crew. Flight controllers in Hawthorne, California, determined the control limits were set too tightly and resolved the issue by resetting the limits and rebooting the heaters. They have verified that the heaters are working properly.

Resilience will dock autonomously to the forward port of the station’s Harmony module about 11 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16.

We'll be providing ongoing live coverage through docking, hatch opening, and the ceremony to welcome the crew aboard the orbiting laboratory.




WATCH THE LAUNCH LIVESTREAM BELOW


Some key milestones leading up to the Crew Dragon launch from Florida tonight:

• 4:05pm EST: Crew walkout

• 4:52pm EST: Astronauts board Dragon

6:52pm EST: Begin Falcon 9 propellant load

• 7:27pm EST: Liftoff


10:00am EST UPDATE

A new forecast just released continues to predict 50-50 odds of good weather at the Kennedy Space Center for launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule at 7:27pm EST

The forecast doesn’t take into account conditions at downrange abort sites.


Background

Crew-1 comes more than five months after SpaceX’s history-making flight on May 31st that carried Behnken and Hurley to the space station. The mission marked the first time a private company had flown humans to orbit. It was also the first time that astronauts had launched to orbit from American soil since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011. For nearly a decade, NASA astronauts have had to rely on Russian rockets to get to the space station, launching out of Kazakhstan. When SpaceX’s Crew Dragon took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with Behnken and Hurley in tow, it effectively ended the gap in US human spaceflight.


“WE ARE HONORED TO BE THE NATION’S LAUNCH PROVIDER.”


SpaceX’s May flight was a test, meant to demonstrate the capabilities of the Crew Dragon before it could start routinely flying humans to the space station. After poring over the data for that flight, NASA has certified that the Crew Dragon is indeed ready for regular human spaceflight, making it the first time the agency has provided certification of a private crewed vehicle. “We are honored to be the nation’s launch provider for crewed missions and take seriously the responsibility that NASA has entrusted us to carry American astronauts to and from the space station,” Benji Reed, senior director of human spaceflight programs at SpaceX, said during a press conference.


Lessons learned

SpaceX needed to make a few tweaks to the Crew Dragon based on what it had learned from Behnken and Hurley’s mission. Perhaps the biggest change was to the spacecraft’s heat shield, a key piece of hardware that keeps the vehicle from overheating as it careens through Earth’s atmosphere. SpaceX found that when the Crew Dragon returned in August, some of the tiles in the heat shield had eroded more than the company expected.


SpaceX claims the erosion didn’t pose any danger to the crew, but the company opted to redesign part of the heat shield tiles, testing them ahead of this mission. The company says that it was “nothing to be concerned” about. “At all times the astronauts were safe and the vehicle was working perfectly,” Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of build and flight reliability for SpaceX, said during a press conference in October. “So this is something that we just in the inspection found... and decided, ‘Okay, we should probably reinforce the heat shield in this particular area.”

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon splashing down in August after taking Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station. Photo by Bill Ingalls / NASA

The Crew Dragon’s parachutes also behaved differently than expected on the previous flight, prompting an update. To splash down gently in the ocean, the spacecraft deploys a series of parachutes to slow itself down. Those chutes deployed at a slightly lower altitude than planned. SpaceX has since changed how the Crew Dragon measures outside air pressure to better determine when the spacecraft is located at the right part of the atmosphere to let out the parachutes.


SPACEX NEEDED TO MAKE A FEW TWEAKS TO THE CREW DRAGON


The final change SpaceX and NASA made revolves around procedure, not vehicle design. When the Crew Dragon splashed down off the coast of Pensacola in August, the vehicle was met by a swarm of recreational boaters who were curious to see a spacecraft up close. The sight of boats zooming in and around the capsule sparked immediate concern — for both the astronauts on board as well as the boaters themselves. The Crew Dragon uses propellants and fuel that can be toxic to humans if they get too close and aren’t taking proper precautions.

To prevent a repeat scene, SpaceX and NASA say they have worked with the US Coast Guard to create a 10-mile keep-out zone around the landed Crew Dragon so that no unauthorized visitors approach the vehicle in the water. “We want to have more boats on the next go around and make sure that the area is really clear of any other [civilian] boats,” Koenigsmann said.


Launch and docking

With all of these changes in place, the Crew-1 launch should look nearly identical to the launch in May — though this one will take place at night. The spacecraft is set to take off on top of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:27PM ET. SpaceX will attempt to recover the first stage booster from this flight to use on its next crewed mission to the space station in the spring.


After suiting up in SpaceX’s signature white-and-gray pressure suits, the four astronauts will travel to the launchpad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center inside two branded white Tesla Model Xs. Once out of the cars, they’ll take an elevator to the top of the rocket and walk across an enclosed hallway to enter the Crew Dragon perched on top of the Falcon 9. The four will then get strapped into their seats by the SpaceX team as they wait for launch.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon splashing down in August after taking Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station. Photo by Bill Ingalls / NASA


The Crew Dragon’s parachutes also behaved differently than expected on the previous flight, prompting an update. To splash down gently in the ocean, the spacecraft deploys a series of parachutes to slow itself down. Those chutes deployed at a slightly lower altitude than planned. SpaceX has since changed how the Crew Dragon measures outside air pressure to better determine when the spacecraft is located at the right part of the atmosphere to let out the parachutes.


SPACEX NEEDED TO MAKE A FEW TWEAKS TO THE CREW DRAGON


The final change SpaceX and NASA made revolves around procedure, not vehicle design. When the Crew Dragon splashed down off the coast of Pensacola in August, the vehicle was met by a swarm of recreational boaters who were curious to see a spacecraft up close. The sight of boats zooming in and around the capsule sparked immediate concern — for both the astronauts on board as well as the boaters themselves. The Crew Dragon uses propellants and fuel that can be toxic to humans if they get too close and aren’t taking proper precautions.

To prevent a repeat scene, SpaceX and NASA say they have worked with the US Coast Guard to create a 10-mile keep-out zone around the landed Crew Dragon so that no unauthorized visitors approach the vehicle in the water. “We want to have more boats on the next go around and make sure that the area is really clear of any other [civilian] boats,” Koenigsmann said.


Launch and docking

With all of these changes in place, the Crew-1 launch should look nearly identical to the launch in May — though this one will take place at night. The spacecraft is set to take off on top of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:27PM ET. SpaceX will attempt to recover the first stage booster from this flight to use on its next crewed mission to the space station in the spring.

After suiting up in SpaceX’s signature white-and-gray pressure suits, the four astronauts will travel to the launchpad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center inside two branded white Tesla Model Xs. Once out of the cars, they’ll take an elevator to the top of the rocket and walk across an enclosed hallway to enter the Crew Dragon perched on top of the Falcon 9. The four will then get strapped into their seats by the SpaceX team as they wait for launch.

Moving forward, the mission will continue to keep a close eye on the weather, both near the launch pad, and out at sea. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule has the ability to abort during flight, by detaching itself from the rocket and parachuting into the ocean to save the crew members if something goes wrong. Flight controllers will be keeping an eye on weather throughout a large swath of the Atlantic Ocean to make sure if an abort does happen, the Crew Dragon doesn’t splash down in choppy seas.

Falcon 9 with the Crew-1 capsule, Resilience, at sunrise on launch day, November 15, 2020 Photo by Joel Kowsky / NASA


For now, weather on Sunday seems like it may cooperate, as there is still a 60 percent chance of favorable conditions for that day. Our live coverage will begin at 3:15PM ET Sunday afternoon, following everything from launch to docking to a welcome ceremony for the incoming crew members. Tune in then to see the Falcon 9 rocket launch on its first official mission

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