SpaceX Launches 4 Astronauts to Space Station from Florida, New Era For NASA
Four astronauts shot into orbit on Sunday from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, lighting up the night sky on most of the east coast of Florida. The photo above, captured by Captain Kimo, shows the stunning view from Juno Beach Pier.
Commander Michael Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi are now on a 27-hour voyage to the International Space Station in the first operational flight of a commercially developed Crew Dragon capsule.
Thousands of South Florida residents were thrilled with a beautiful light show while lining area roads and beaches, and holding private viewing parties at their north-facing waterfront residences. The Falcon 9 did not dissapoint as a long jet of bright fiery exhaust trailed across the sky.
At the moment of launch, the station was sailing 259 miles above northern Syria. It will take the Crew Dragon 27-and-a-half hours to precisely match orbits with the lab complex, pulling up to within about 20 miles by 8 p.m. Monday.
If all goes well, the spacecraft will pass about 1,300 feet below the station before looping up to a point about 720 feet directly in front of the outpost.
From there, the Crew Dragon's flight computer will guide the ship in for a docking at the station's forward port, the same one once used by visiting space shuttles, at 11 p.m. Monday as the two spacecraft pass over the west coast of the United States.
The Kennedy Space Center hosts launches regularly, and Palm Beach County residents are close enough to be able to watch them light up the night sky from the comfort of their own backyard!