A SpaceX Crew Dragon carrying four astronauts docked with the International Space Station on Monday, the first of what the US hopes will be many routine missions.
After launching at 7:27 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday (0027 GMT on Monday) atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, three U.S. astronauts and one Japanese astronaut awoke at noon (1700 GMT) on Monday from their scheduled eight-hour sleep in low-Earth orbit .
The gumdrop-shaped space capsule, which the astronauts named Resilience, was scheduled to dock at 11 p.m. Monday (0400 GMT on Tuesday) at the space station, an orbital laboratory some 400 km above Earth where another U.S. astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts were awaiting their arrival.
The Resilience crew includes Hopkins, an Air Force colonel, and two fellow National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronauts: mission pilot Victor Glover and physicist Shannon Walker.
They are joined by Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, making his third trip to space after previously flying on the U.S. shuttle in 2005 and Soyuz in 2009.
Before receiving its flight certification from NASA last week, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon had been under development for roughly a decade under a public-private NASA program started in 2011 to revive the agency’s human spaceflight capability.