Innovation

Spend a day with a SpaceX astronaut

May 30, 2020, marked the first ever commercial crew launch to the International Space Station.

Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

That day also marked the return of US human spaceflight, 9 years after NASA’s shuttle program ended in 2011.

Space Frontiers/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Here’s how the day went.

GREGG NEWTON/AFP/Getty Images

Saturday, May 30 started with 50% chance of favorable weather conditions.

Around noon Eastern time, the astronauts said goodbye to their families and climbed into a Tesla Model X to ride 9 miles to the launch site.

Just after 12:33 p.m., Benkhen and Hurley boarded the crew capsule.

NASA/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Around 2:37 p.m., after necessary checks and weather updates, officials began loading the liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene fuel.

Then the waiting began.

“Have an amazing flight and enjoy those views of our beautiful planet,” Space X told Behnken and Hurley, just minutes before launch.

NASA

“SpaceX, Dragon. We’re go for launch. Let’s light this candle,” Hurley said, 15 seconds before launch.

Handout/Getty Images News/Getty Images

At 3:22 p.m. Eastern Time, the Falcon 9 rocket lifted off, pushing on the Earth with 1.7 million pounds of thrust.

Handout/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Twelve minutes into flight, the Dragon Crew capsule separated from the Falcon 9 rocket and entered orbit. “Thanks for flying on Falcon 9 today – we hope you enjoy the mission,” SpaceX Chief Engineer Bala Ramamurthy said to the astronauts.

At about 9:30 a.m. May 31, the astronauts took manual control of the Dragon Crew capsule and started approaching the ISS.

At 10:30 a.m., the Dragon Crew capsule completed its docking sequence.

At 1:23 p.m., Behnken and Hurley entered the ISS and greeted their fellow astronauts.

“It's great to get the United States back in the crewed launch business and we're just really glad to be onboard this magnificent complex," Hurley said in a NASA statement.

The astronauts could spend as long as four months on the station before heading back to Earth, NASA says.

Share