After a historic launch yesterday (May 30) from the coast of Florida, two NASA astronauts arrive today at the space station aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon.
Yesterday, veteran astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley became the first NASA astronauts to head to the International Space Station from Florida since 2011, when the space shuttles retired. Behnken and Hurley launched on a test mission dubbed Demo-2 of the Crew Dragon capsule built by SpaceX.
And today, after about 19 hours in transit, Behnken and Hurley’s vehicle will soar up to the International Space Station and dock with the orbiting laboratory. Docking is scheduled to occur at 10:29 a.m. EDT (1429 GMT), although that timing is subject to change.
During this morning’s procedure, the tip of the gumdrop-shaped Crew Dragon capsule will open to reveal the docking mechanics. Crew Dragon docks itself autonomously, although the astronauts on board can take manual control should that prove necessary.
But even after the Crew Dragon capsule docks to the space station, Behnken and Hurley will remain onboard. The vehicle’s hatch will open around 12:45 p.m. EDT (1645 GMT), more than two hours after docking. Then, Behnken and Hurley will join NASA colleague Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who have been in orbit since April.
The now five-person crew will hold a welcoming ceremony at 1:05 p.m. EDT (1705 GMT) in orbit to formally mark the historic flight.
Behnken and Hurley will spend between one and four months at work on the orbiting laboratory; the duration will be determined primarily by the readiness of the next SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.