Here there be Dragons.
After a truly historic launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule shot into orbit with the intent of docking at the International Space Station. The whole process took a little while to make happen, but eventually, the capsule was successfully connected to the station, at first with a basic connection, then with a sturdy link of twelve different latches.
The capsule’s crew, Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, successfully exited the capsule into the ISS proper at 1:15 pm ET on Sunday, where they were introduced to NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoli Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. After the success of the mission was confirmed, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine called the station up from Houston, Texas to issue a personal congratulations.
“We are so, so proud of everything you’ve done for our country, and in fact, to inspire the world,” Bridenstine said.
In a webcast broadcasted from space hosted by Behnken and Hurley, it was revealed that the Dragon capsule had been named “Endeavor.” According to them, the name has a few inspirations; their efforts to get back to space after the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011, their personal longtime friendship, and their longtime careers in space exploration.
Welcome aboard the @SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft!
In this video from space, @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug reveal the name of their capsule: Endeavour. Take a look inside as the crew continues their journey to the @Space_Station: https://t.co/K9S5mejONx pic.twitter.com/mvH8UhE5FW
— NASA (@NASA) May 31, 2020
The capsule brought a few assorted doodads up with them, but the most interesting ones, spotted by viewers of the webcast, was a sparkly, multicolored dinosaur toy. Hurley and Behnken, both fathers to young sons, offered to bring one of their toys up to the ISS with them. As both boys love dinosaurs, they decided on a toy Apatosaurus.
With this successful dock, SpaceX has now managed two complete launch and dock procedures without any incidents, an impressive milestone for both NASA and SpaceX, as well as space travel in general. As for Hurley and Behnken, the two astronauts are planned to remain on the ISS for the next one to three months, or up to 110 days.