Four astronauts from a space capsule of Elon Musks space company SpaceX arrived at the International Space Station ISS on Tuesday. It is the first time that the US space agency NASA paid a private company for a manned mission with a privately built spacecraft.
SpaceXs Crew Dragon Capsule called Resilience (Resilience) came to the ISS just after 5:00 a.m., some 27 hours after launching a Falcon 9 missile from Cape Canaveral space base in Florida. On board were three American astronauts and a Japanese.
The ISS, which makes circles around the Earth at an altitude of 400 kilometres, will be their home for the next six months. They are then relieved by four colleagues who are also brought to the ISS with a Crew Dragon Capsule. That rotation continues until the aircraft manufacturer Boeing joins the project with his own new spacecraft at the end of next year.
The development of the Crew Dragon Capsule has taken roughly a decade. The project was partly financed by public money and partly by private money. It was started by NASA in 2011 to send more people back into space. The launch, Sunday, was NASAs first operational mission under the program. Last summer, SpaceX made a test flight with two astronauts for the first time.