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article imageAstronauts arrive at launch site for SpaceX crew flight to ISS

By Karen Graham     Nov 8, 2020 in Science
Four astronauts, one woman, and three men arrived at the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday for SpaceX’s second crew launch to the International Space Station (ISS), coming up next week. And NASA reminds us it's also time for Another #LaunchAmerica mission.
NASA astronauts has been preparing for the long-awaited start of regular crew rotations to the ISS using private companies, like SpaceX. This second launch by SpaceX will deliver four crew members on November 14, double the number sent up on the first crew launch. This group will be staying onboard the ISS for six months.
The crew taking off on Saturday night is made up of three Americans and one Japanese. Their trip will be short and very fast, only taking nine hours after six orbits to reach the space station, reports Stars and Stripes.
“Make no mistake: Every flight is a test flight when it comes to space travel. But it’s also true that we need to routinely be able to go to the International Space Station,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in welcoming the astronauts to Kennedy.
From left to right: Shannon Walker  Navy Cmdr. Victor Glover   Commander Mike Hopkins  and JAXA astr...
From left to right: Shannon Walker, Navy Cmdr. Victor Glover, Commander Mike Hopkins, and JAXA astronautsSoichi Noguchi.
NASA
Flight of the "Resilience"
The crew has named the Dragon capsule "Resilience" - given all the challenges we have seen in 2020 - including the coronavirus pandemic, social isolation, protests against racial injustice, and a particularly difficult election and campaign season, reports the Associated Press.
“It’s been a tough year for everybody for a lot of different reasons,” crew commander Mike Hopkins said after flying in from Houston. “We felt like if the name of our vehicle could give a little hope, a little inspiration, put a smile on people’s faces, then that is definitely what we wanted to do.”
The crew of the Resilience includes one woman, American astronaut Shannon Walker, 55, is a Houston-born and -raised physicist, and has lived on the space station before. Her husband, retired astronaut Andrew Thomas, helped build the outpost.
Commander Mike Hopkins, 51, is an Air Force colonel and former space station resident who grew up on a hog-and-cattle farm in Missouri.
Navy Cmdr. Victor Glover, 44, is the pilot and the lone space rookie; he’s from the Los Angeles area and will be the first African-American astronaut to move into the space station for a long stay.
The Japanese Space Agency’s (JAXA) Soichi Noguchi, 55, another former station resident, will become the first person in decades to launch on three kinds of rocketships; he’s already flown on a U.S. space shuttle and Russian Soyuz.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft  renamed  Resilience  by the crew is ready and waiting for the launch on ...
The Crew Dragon spacecraft, renamed "Resilience" by the crew is ready and waiting for the launch on November 14 at 7:49 p.m. ET.
NASA
Commander Hopkins said the crew will ride to the launch site in Teslas, furnished by SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s other company. The crew's spacesuits are color-coordinated with the spacecraft, but everything ekse about the launch is purely technology and science.
“It’s a very sleek capsule. But it’s got the advantage of having great leaps in technology since the last time we built spacecraft here in this country,” Shannon Walker said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
Noguchi, who, along with Walker, joined the crew just this year, is particularly excited about riding a Dragon. In Japan, the dragon is an esteemed, mythical creature — “almost a ride to heaven.: He has great praise for NASSA: “It’s quite a privilege to learn how to train the Dragon - actually, how to ride a Dragon,” he said. “SpaceX did a pretty good job teaching from scratch to become a dragon rider in six months.”
More about NASA, Spacex, 2nd crew flight, International Space Station, virtual launch experience
 
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