NASA astronauts become latest space station residents in historic SpaceX Crew Dragon mission

SpaceX Crew-1 successfully launches en route to ISS

The SpaceX Crew-1 successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center en route to the International Space Station Sunday night.

Three NASA astronauts and their fellow crew member from the Japanese Space Agency boarded the International Space Station early Tuesday following a historic flight in a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The crew lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on Sunday in the first operational SpaceX Crew Dragon launch, marking an important milestone for the space program. Crew-1 follows a successful Demo-2 mission earlier this year and is the first crew rotation flight on a U.S. commercial spacecraft.

Crew Dragon, which was named Resilience by the Crew-1 astronauts, docked with the International Space Station at 11.01 p.m. ET Monday.

NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi were welcomed aboard by NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.

In this frame grab from NASA TV, astronaut Mike Hopkins, center, is greeted by astronaut Kate Rubins, left, as he enters the International Space Station from the vestibule between the SpaceX Dragon capsule and the ISS, early Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. At right is Expedition 64 commander Sergey Ryzhikov. (NASA TV via AP)

“The hatches are open and NASA's @SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts Shannon Walker, @Astro_Soichi, @AstroVicGlover, and @Astro_illini are the newest residents aboard the @Space_Station,” tweeted NASA early Tuesday. “Welcome aboard!”

The Crew-1 astronauts and Rubins will conduct a range of scientific research during the six-month mission.

In this frame grab from NASA TV, astronaut Soichi Noguchi, background right, is greeted by astronaut Kate Rubins, as he enters the International Space Station from the vestibule between the SpaceX Dragon capsule and the ISS, early Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. (NASA TV via AP)

Earlier this year the Demo-2 mission marked the first time that astronauts have launched from American soil since the final Space Shuttle flight in 2011.

In this frame grab from NASA TV, astronaut Victor Glover, center, is greeted by astronaut Kate Rubins as he enters the International Space Station from the vestibule between the SpaceX Dragon capsule and the ISS, early Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. At right is Expedition 64 commander Sergey Ryzhikov. (NASA TV via AP)

After the end of the Space Shuttle program, the U.S. relied on Russian Soyuz rockets launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to get astronauts into space. Russia charges the U.S. about $75 million to send an astronaut into space, and the Associated Press reports that the last Soyuz ticket cost America $90 million.

In this frame grab from NASA TV, SpaceX Dragon crew, from front left to right, Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi stand with International Space Station crew Kate Rubins, from back left, Expedition 64 commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov during a welcome ceremony, early Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. The Dragon arrived and docked at the ISS late Monday. (NASA TV via AP)

Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia, Kristin Fisher, Lauren Blanchard, David Clark, Erin McEwan and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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