If the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) isn't already cool enough, the team that just launched the first SpaceX Commercial Crew mission, also including a little plush The Child (aka Baby Yoda).
This is a landmark mission for NASA and the company because it is the first fully operational crewed mission for SpaceX, following up a test mission in May that carried NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, both test pilots, to the space station. "Historically, Bermuda has formed an important part of NASA's worldwide network of tracking and data stations". It marks the "first flight of the NASA-certified commercial system designed for crew transportation".
The Crew-1 mission launched at 4:27 p.m. Sunday California time from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the first crew-rotation flight of a USA commercial spacecraft. Following the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011, Nasa awarded SpaceX and Boeing Co almost $7 billion in contracts to build new transport systems to the space station, an orbiting laboratory about 400 km above Earth, as part of the agency's Commercial Crew programme.
Minutes later, the Crew Dragon capsule separated from the rocket for a 27.5-hour trip to the International Space Station.
The crew, including Baby Yoda, will dock with the ISS at 11 p.m. EST and spend about six months onboard the orbiting outpost. This is the first worldwide crew to launch aboard an American commercial spacecraft. For Demo-2, the crew took along a sequined dinosaur Beanie Baby, chosen by the astronaut's children. The fourth passenger is Soichi Noguchi, a member of Japan's JAXA space agency. But for McAlister, this launch represents the beginning of a new chapter in the development of space travel. According to the NYT, this is a practice that costs just over $90 million per seat. Boeing is also designing its own private space capsules, the first of which is being called the CST-100 Starliner.
Hopkins, the Commander for the mission, radioed back to mission control during the flight, "Well done, that was one heck of a ride. Congratulations to everyone. Resilience is in orbit".
NASA added a surprise fifth passenger to the Crew-1 mission now en route to the International Space Station - a plush The Child (aka Baby Yoda) from "The Mandalorian".