SpaceX capsule arrives at International Space Station

The SpaceX capsule carrying four astronauts docked at the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday, 27 hours after launching from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The four-member SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which the team named “Resilience,” officially opened its hatch door shortly after 1 a.m. EST on Tuesday, according to Reuters. 

Footage from the ISS shows the crew of three Americans and one Japanese astronaut emerging from the capsule and boarding the station, greeting the existing crew of one American and two Russians with hugs and high-fives. 

“SpaceX, this is Resilience. Excellent job. Right down the center,” Crew Dragon commander Mike Hopkins reportedly said from the spacecraft after docking. “SpaceX and NASA, congratulations, this is a new era of operational flights to the International Space Station from the Florida coast.”

“The last 27 hours have gone really smooth actually,” Hopkins said after boarding the space station. “We are looking forward to the next six months, and can’t wait to get started.”

The mission, which arrived at the station following a completely automated flight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, marks the first time Elon Musk’s company delivered a crew for a full six-month stay. 

According to The Associated Press, the astronauts will remain at the ISS until April, when another Dragon is scheduled to arrive. The crews are expected to continue rotating using SpaceX capsules until Boeing is expected to join with its own spacecraft late next year. 

The trip Sunday had initially been planned for the day prior but was delayed due to offshore winds, according to a NASA press release. 

In May, SpaceX launched a two-pilot test flight that lasted two months, successfully returning to Earth in August. 

While NASA kept attendance at Sunday's launch small due to safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, the event saw an appearance by Vice President Pence and his wife Karen Pence, who both wore masks and watched from a balcony.

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