SpaceX Launch Reaches Space Station in Latest NASA Mission

Liftoff and docking go smoothly for Elon Musk’s company in the first such trip to include a pre-used capsule and rocket

The Wall Street Journal
April 27, 2021

Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched its third crewed rock­et for NASA, send­ing four more astro­nauts to the space sta­tion and mark­ing the first time the com­pa­ny achieved the take­off with both a pre-used cap­sule and rocket.

The Fal­con 9 rock­et lift­ed off at 5:49 a.m. ET Friday—with a low rum­ble and leav­ing behind a trail of fire and smoke in the predawn darkness—from NASA’s Kennedy Space Cen­ter at Cape Canaver­al, Fla. The cap­sule suc­cess­ful­ly docked ear­ly Sat­ur­day with the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion, join­ing an ear­li­er group of four astro­nauts who trav­eled there on SpaceX’s first oper­a­tional mis­sion in Novem­ber and three oth­ers also on board.

The mis­sion marks a num­ber of firsts for SpaceX. It is the first time that two of the company’s Crew Drag­on cap­sules will be simul­ta­ne­ous­ly docked at the ISS. It is also the first time the rock­et has car­ried two inter­na­tion­al part­ners, Japan Aero­space Explo­ration Agency’s Aki­hiko Hoshide and French­man Thomas Pes­quet from the Euro­pean Space Agency. They join Amer­i­cans Shane Kim­brough, the mission’s com­man­der, and Megan McArthur, the spacecraft’s pilot. The crew will be sta­tioned at the space sta­tion for a six-month mission.

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