SpaceX Delivers New Crew of 4 to ‘Sparkling Like a Diamond’ Station

SpaceX Delivers New Crew of 4 to ‘Sparkling Like a Diamond’ Station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – A SpaceX capsule carrying four astronauts stopped Thursday at the International Space Station, their new home until spring.

The 21-hour flight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to the shimmering site took place.

The German astronaut and three American astronauts said it was an emotional moment when they first spotted the space station 30 kilometers (20 miles) away – ‘a very impressive sight,’ according to Raja Chari, the Dragon capsule commander.

German astronaut Matthias Maurer noted that it “floats in space and shines like a diamond.” “We are all very happy and very excited.”

In this image from video provided by NASA, astronauts on the SpaceX Dragon capsule approach the International Space Station on November 11, 2021.

The Dragon’s flight was fully automated, with Chari and pilot Tom Marshburn monitoring the capsule’s systems, ready to take over if needed. At one point, they reported what looked like a ‘knotted knob’ or perhaps a small mechanical nut floating above the camera’s field of view, but SpaceX Mission Control said it raised no concern. The docking occurred 423 kilometers (263 miles) above the eastern Caribbean.

The station’s welcome committee consisted of three astronauts instead of the originally planned seven. That’s because SpaceX brought back four station residents on Monday, after the launch of the new arrivals continued to be delayed.

While Shari, Marshburn, Maurer, and NASA astronaut Kayla Barron were adjusting to weightlessness—all but Marshburne are newbies in space—the previous crew was adjusting to life back on Earth.

“Gravity is bad, but you slowly get used to it,” Japanese astronaut Akihoki Hoshied wrote on Twitter.

The new crew will spend the next six months on the space station, and during that time, they will host two groups of visiting tourists. Russia will launch the first set in December and SpaceX the second in February.

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