NASA, SpaceX Officials Thrilled With Crew-1 Launch Success

Crew-1 liftoff
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi aboard the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, blasts off from NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

By Jim Cawley
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

It was a picture perfect launch during a beautiful evening on Florida’s Space Coast, as NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) blasted off from Kennedy Space Center on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission.

“This is a great day for the United States of America and a great day for Japan,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “We look forward to many more years of a great partnership — not just in low-Earth orbit but all the way to the Moon.”

After lifting off from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A at 7:27 p.m., aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, crew members are now a few hours into their 27.5-hour trip to the International Space Station for a six-month science mission.

“Everybody is so fired up; they’re so excited about this mission. But we’re not done yet; we need to keep going,” said Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, NASA Headquarters. “That spacecraft is out there with those four precious crew members on it. And we’re going to get them safely to the International Space Station tomorrow.”

Crew-1 postlaunch news conference
From left, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine; Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, NASA Headquarters; Hiroshi Sasaki, vice president and director general, JAXA’s Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate; Steve Dickson, administrator, Federal Aviation Administration; and Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer, SpaceX participate in the postlaunch news conference at Kennedy.

Crew-1 is the first crew rotation flight of a U.S. commercial spacecraft with astronauts to the space station following the spacecraft system’s official human rating certification. Hopkins, Glover, Walker, and Noguchi will join the Expedition 64 crew of Commander Sergey Ryzhikov, and Flight Engineers Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins. The arrival of Crew-1 will increase the regular crew size of the space station’s expedition missions from six to seven astronauts, adding to the amount of crew time available for research.

Tune in to NASA Television or the agency’s website for continuous comprehensive coverage of the Crew-1 mission, including docking at the space station on Monday, Nov. 16, at approximately 11 p.m. EST.

A welcome ceremony with Lueders and JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa will take place Tuesday, Nov. 17, at approximately 1:40 a.m. EST. That will be followed by a post-docking news conference at approximately 2 a.m., with:

  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, NASA Headquarters
  • Mark Geyer, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston
  • Ven Feng, deputy manager, Commercial Crew Program, Johnson
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, Johnson

Follow along with mission activities and get more information at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @Commercial_Crew@space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew FacebookISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew Dragon Reaches Orbit, News Conference at 9:30 p.m. EST

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency on their way to the International Space Station has safely reached orbit, and the nosecone has been opened.

At 9:30 p.m., NASA will host a postlaunch news conference from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Participants in the briefing will be:

  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for human exploration and operations, NASA Headquarters
  • Hiroshi Sasaki, vice president and director general, JAXA’s Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate
  • Steve Dickson, administrator, Federal Aviation Administration
  • Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer, SpaceX

NASA Television and the agency’s website will air the news conference. Mission commentary will switch to NASA TV’s Media Channel.

Follow along with mission activities and get more information at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @Commercial_Crew@space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew FacebookISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Separation Confirmed! Crew Dragon Leaves Behind Second Stage

Crew-1 spacecraft separation
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, carrying astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi, separates from the second stage.

Resilience has separated from the second stage.

The spacecraft is traveling at approximately 27,000 kilometers per hour.

Stage 1 Successfully Lands on Drone Ship

Crew-1 stage 1 landing
Stage 1 of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lands on the company’s drone ship for reuse.

Stage 1 of the rocket completed its descent and landed on SpaceX’s drone ship.

Shutdown of the Second Stage Engine

Shutdown of the second stage engine occurs right on time. “A nominal orbit insertion,” which are great words to hear.

Second Stage Engine Continues to Burn

The second stage engine continues to burn. About eight minutes into flight, all is well.

Crew-1 Reports Trajectory Nominal

The call came in from Crew-1 Commander Mike Hopkins that trajectory is nominal. The first stage has started its descent.

First Stage Main Engine Cutoff, First and Second Stages Separate

The rocket has reached first stage main engine cutoff (MECO). The first and second stages have separated.

Rocket Reaches Max Q

Max Q, or the moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket, has been reached.

Liftoff! Crew-1 Astronauts on Their Way to the Space Station

Crew-1 liftoff
Above and below: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi aboard the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, blasts off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A.

The Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft Resilience lit up the Florida Crew-1 liftoff from 39Aearly evening sky, lifting off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A at 7:27 p.m. EST! Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi have started their 27.5-hour journey to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission.

Max Q (the moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket) will happen during the next minute.