The US SpaceX’s Crew Dragon manned spacecraft with four astronauts aboard docked with the International Space Station, according to live broadcast of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) website.
The manned spacecraft’s docking with the ISS is performed in an automatic mode. In case of the need, a manual docking by the commander is possible, like on Russia’s Soyuz.
“The Crew Dragon “Resilience” docked at 11:01pm ET. With confirmation of hard capture complete at 11:13pm, the spacecraft with NASA’s @SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts aboard is officially attached to the @Space_Station,” NASA said.
The crew confirmed on its Twitter account that the effort was successful. Currently, leak checks are underway. The docking came with a six-minute delay. This was needed to wait for the daybreak and clearly see the orbital facility.
The crew dubbed Resilience includes NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission specialist Soichi Noguchi. Three astronauts have previous space flight experience: the Japanese specialist flew to space twice and the Americans once while for Glover this is the first flight to the orbit.
The crew will spend six months at the ISS. Currently, the ISS crew includes Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov as well as NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins.
The launch had been postponed from November 14 to November 15 due to inclement weather conditions. On Sunday, during the launch preparations, the SpaceX experts discovered a small air leak which was eliminated by repeated opening and closing of the hatch and removing small debris from the seal.
The first manned mission of the Crew Dragon spacecraft was conducted this year by astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken. The spacecraft entered the Earth’s orbit on May 30 and docked with the ISS automatically on May 31. Hurley and Behnken dubbed it Endeavour after their first space shuttle. The launch of the Crew Dragon became the first manned flight in nine years from US soil aboard a US spacecraft. NASA halted crewed flights in 2011 after the Space Shuttle program came to an end. Subsequently, all astronauts were delivered to the ISS and back by Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.