The most experienced astronaut on SpaceX’s newly launched crew said on Thursday that riding a dragon capsule into orbit was like being inside a real mythical beast and much more fun than NASA’s spacecraft or Russian aircraft.
As for the crew’s astronaut, he said the navy’s fighter jets pulled high G or gravity forces, but they did not last as long as they did during his “amazing” first rocket launch.
SpaceX delivered its second astronauts to the International Space Station on Monday night, 27 hours after it was launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
At the first press conference from orbit, the four astronauts described the launch on Sunday night and the first record of the space station, their new home until spring.
Japanese astronaut Sochi Nokuchi – who became the third person to be launched into three types of spacecraft – said “Dragon is the best, shortest answer”. He said the dragon “really wanted to go into space,” as the Falcon 9 rocket was fueled just minutes before launch, and then he could feel the impetus being thrown out of the window seat.
“It feels like you’re actually bringing us into space into a dragon, so it’s a feeling,” he told reporters.
Victor Clover, a first-time space pilot, said the G-forces were gradually built up after entering the second phase of the rocket.
“As a fighter, you can’t have 4G for several minutes, not most flights,” Clover noted. “I could feel it for a few seconds. But it’s really amazing to have it for so long.”
Upon reaching orbit, he added, “It’s surreal.” “I’ve seen tons of pictures, but when I first looked out of the earth’s window it was hard to describe. No words … it was an amazing, once lifetime feeling.”
The astronauts named their capsule a setback to give hope not only to the epidemic, but also to the domestic and political unrest of the year.
“I hope it inspires people to see it linguistically and symbolically,” said Navy Commander Clover, who became the first African-American to go to the space station full time.
The astronauts chose a small, silky Baby Yoda for their zero gravity indicator for the same reason – “When you look at him, it’s hard to laugh,” said Commander Mike Hopkins. The group began watching the Disney and “Star Wars” television series “The Montalorian” starring Baby Yoda.
“Riding in space can be a little tougher than Baby Yoda is used to,” Hopkins said.
The SpaceX crew – including Shannon Walker – joined an orbiting outpost with an American and two Russians. This is the first time the space station has had seven longtime crew members at the same time, which is expected to boost scientific output.
A reporter asked: Is it crowded?
“It’s busy in a great way,” said Kate Rubins, a NASA astronaut who landed on the Russian Soyuz capsule a month ago.
Following the Navy’s retirement in 2011, NASA returned to SpaceX and Boeing to carry astronauts from the United States to the space station, reducing US reliability on Russian rockets. Boeing still has a few months to start a team.
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