Dhe International Space Station ISS has added four new crew members. Three NASA astronauts and a spaceman from the Japanese space agency Jaxa reached the space laboratory in Earth orbit with a Dragon space capsule from the private company SpaceX on Tuesday morning at around 7 a.m. German time. They were welcomed there by the American Kate Rubins (NASA) and the two Russians Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov (both Roskosmos), who have been on the ISS since mid-October.
The flight of around 27 hours, which began with the launch of a Falcon 9 launcher at the American spaceport Cape Canaveral in Florida early on Sunday morning, was completely automated and without any difficulties. After the first manned flight with a private Dragon capsule, which carried the two NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the ISS for two months in May of this year, it was now the first regular manned flight of a Dragon into Earth orbit. The successor crew is scheduled to fly to the ISS in April of next year. SpaceX and the aviation company Boeing also want to regularly handle manned flights for NASA in addition to transporting provisions and equipment.
“We can’t wait to have you on board,” said astronaut Kate Rubins on the ISS as the Dragon docked at the ISS more than 400 kilometers above the American state of Idaho. On board the Dragon capsule were Commander Mike Hopkins, the physicist Shannon Walker, the naval pilot Victor Glover and the Japanese Soichi Noguchi, who was the first astronaut in almost 40 years to fly in three different types of spacecraft: July 2005 aboard the space shuttle Discovery, December On board a Russian Soyuz capsule in 2009 and now on board a Dragon spaceship. The four astronauts will live and research on the International Space Station for six months.