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NASA launches its first commercial human spacecraft with SpaceX

 Why is the Crew-1 mission significant?

THE CREW-1 MISSION

NASA launched the first commercial human spacecraft system in history. As part of the Crew-1 mission, 4 astronauts docked to the International Space Station (ISS) at 11:01 p.m. EST Monday on board SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft called Resilience.

ABOUT THE MISSION

Crew-1 is the first of 6 crewed missions that NASA and SpaceX will operate as part of the Commercial Crew Program, whose objective is to make access to space easier in terms of cost.

WHAT IS THE COMMERCIAL CREW PROGRAM?

It's a way to reduce the cost of going to space for agencies such as NASA, enabling greater scientific research.

It also aims to make it possible for individuals to buy a ticket on a commercial rocket. Therefore, the launch is being seen as the beginning of a new era in space travel.


THE MANY FIRSTS

The Crew-1 mission marks many firsts for NASA and SpaceX.

It is the first flight of the NASA-certified commercial system

It's the first international crew of 4 to launch on an American commercial spacecraft

It's the first time ISS' long-duration expedition crew size will increase from 6 to 7


THE MANY FIRSTS

Crew-1 is the first operational flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket to the ISS

NASA certified SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule and the Falcon 9 rocket last week, making it the first spacecraft certification agency provided by the space

While the Crew Dragon spacecraft is capable of staying in orbit for 210 days, it will return in spring 2021, making it the longest human space mission launched from the US


WHO ARE THE CREW MEMBERS?

NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi were launched from the Kennedy Space Center for a 6-month-long mission.


WHAT WILL CREW-1 MEMBERS DO AT THE ISS?

The Crew-1 team will join members of Expedition 64 and conduct microgravity studies. Another experiment aboard the Crew Dragon aims to understand how spaceflight affects brain function.

The spacecraft will also deliver over 500 pounds of cargo, science hardware and experiments to the ISS.

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