Shortly after midnight UTC on Monday 16th November, the first operational crewed mission from American soil successfully launched and subsequently docked with the International Space Station.
On board the Crew Dragon spacecraft were NASA astronauts Commander Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Nogushi. They will join Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, as well as fellow NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins, onboard the ISS for a planned mission duration of 180 days.
This followed an earlier mission, Crew Demo-2, that succeeded in delivering NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken to the ISS. This mission onboard a SpaceX craft is expected to be just the first in a long line of private-public collaborations as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which also involves aerospace company Boeing.