Baby Yoda used as ‘gravity indicator’ during SpaceX launch

Eloise Marshall
November 16, 2020

The SpaceX Crew-1 mission lifted off at 7.27 pm EST on Sunday (5.57 am on Monday India time) from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The nighttime launch lit up the sky over Brevard County to the delight of thousands of spectators lining the coast.

SpaceX mission operator Jay Aranha, speaking from the company's Hawthorne, California headquarters, told the crew to "have an awesome trip, and know that we are all for one". "Have an awesome trip and know that we are all for one". "By working together through these hard times, you've inspired the nation, the world, and in no small part the name of this incredible vehicle, Resilience", Commander Mike Hopkins said right before liftoff. "Crew-1 for all".

Vice-President Mike Pence was expected at NASA's Kennedy Space Center for the long-awaited start of regular crew rotations aboard privately owned and operated capsules.

Benji Reed, SpaceX's director of crew mission management, said it revives regular crewed launches to the space station from the United States and a continual Crew Dragon presence at the International Space Station. He flew to the International Space Station on a Soyuz spacecraft for a stay in 2013.

They named their capsule Resilience given all the challenges in 2020, most notably the global pandemic.

"We felt like if the name of our vehicle could give a little hope, a little inspiration, put a smile on people's faces, then that is definitely what we wanted to do", said Hopkins, an Air Force colonel who commands the mission. An earlier flight of a Crew Dragon capsule was unmanned, but it also successfully reached the space station with a belly full of cargo. Noguchi has been on two spaceflights and made history as the first Japanese astronaut to perform a spacewalk outside the ISS in 2005.

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But NASA doesn't intend to rely exclusively on SpaceX or want to be the only entity doing launches.

NASA has a similar agreement with the Boeing aerospace company, although its service is more than a year behind SpaceX. The wind and waves need to be within limits in case something goes wrong during the launch and the capsule needs to make an emergency splashdown.

The 27-hour ride to the space station, an orbiting laboratory some 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, was originally scheduled to begin on Saturday.

"NASA is delivering on its commitment to the American people and our worldwide partners to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective missions to the global Space Station using American private industry", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.

"If you think about spaceflight, every flight is a test flight".

"Our astronauts have been in quarantine for weeks, and they should not have had contact with anybody", NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said on Friday.

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