A dragon headed into space Sunday and this is no sci-fi story. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship launched from Cape Canaveral on Sunday night with four astronauts aboard for a voyage to the International Space Station.
NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Victor Glover were joined by Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Soichi Noguchi as the capsule detached from the Falcon 9 rocket and headed into orbit. It is slated to dock Monday at 11 p.m. EST and become their work home for six months.
“Have an amazing trip and know that we are all for one,” SpaceX mission controller Jay Aranha told the crew before liftoff. Hopkins replied, “To all the people at NASA and SpaceX, by working together through these difficult times, you’ve inspired the nation, the world, and in no small part the name of this incredible vehicle, ‘Resilience.’ And now it’s time for us to do our part. Crew-1 for all.”
The launch, delayed from Saturday night because of weather, was the second by SpaceX with astronauts. The previous was a test flight for a two-month stay, but this one would break a 45-year-old record for longest human spaceflight.
That’s a lot of food made without an oven or water added. But for astronauts with military experience, it is all too familiar after chowing down on military MREs (Meals Ready to Eat).
Since the space shuttles were retired in 2011, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program used private companies and $6 billion in federal funds to create a spaceflight industry that led to this exploration. About $3 billion went to Crew Dragon in cooperation with Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Baby Yoda is there to indicate zero gravity. The crew took a Baby Yoda Plush doll that is shown floating on the Crew Dragon video feed. Baby Yoda just became every aspiring astronaut’s Christmas wish.