Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Wednesday successfully docked space agency NASA’s Crew-4 mission astronauts with the International Space Station 16 hours after liftoff.
What Happened: SpaceX’s Dragon capsule named "Freedom" autonomously docked with the ISS at 7:37 pm ET, uniting the four Crew-4 astronauts with the Crew-3 members aboard the space station that orbits on, average, 248 miles above earth.
This was Dragon’s first flight for the mission and Falcon 9’s fourth flight after launching the CRS-22, Crew-3, and Turksat 5B missions previously.
The reusable Falcon 9 returned to land on the "A Shortfall of Gravitas" drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean minutes after the launch.
The mission will ferry NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, Jessica Watkins, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti to the space station.
The space agency shared a short clip of the moment when the Crew-4 and the Crew-3 astronauts passed through the hatch to the orbiting laboratory and hugged each other.
Crew-4 astronauts will depart the station and return to Earth no earlier than September 2022.
The Big Picture: SpaceX and NASA are working on multiple projects including a $2.9 billion lunar landing contract. Musk dreams of colonizing Mars and has in the past said he remains “highly confident” that SpaceX would land humans on Mars by 2026.
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