Update (April 24): SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft docked with the International Space Station (ISS) Saturday at 0508 ET, about 24 hours after blasting off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Here's Dragon preparing to dock with ISS.
Dragon autonomously docking.
"This will be the first time that two Crew Dragons are attached to the ISS," SpaceX tweeted.
Dragon successfully docked at 0508 ET.
Dragon crew enters ISS.
"Welcome to ISS, we are so excited to have you aboard," NASA astronaut and space station commander Shannon Walker said.
"Endeavour arriving!" Welcome to the @Space_Station, Crew-2!— NASA (@NASA) April 24, 2021
Their arrival means there are now 11 humans aboard our orbiting laboratory, a number not seen since the space shuttle era. Hugs abound. pic.twitter.com/uSwW3JFl6K
Dragon's crew consists of NASA astronauts Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough, France's Thomas Pesquet, and Japan's Akihiko Hoshide. The four will stay on the ISS for six months.
Meanwhile, the current ISS crew will turn over operations to the new arrivals and prepare for a trip back to Earth.
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SpaceX launched its third crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS) early Friday morning under darkness.
A SpaceX Crew Dragon aboard a Falcon 9 rocket carrying four astronauts blasted towards low Earth orbit around 0549 ET from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Dragon capsule should dock at the ISS around 0510 ET Saturday.
Here's the liftoff of Falcon 9 and Dragon.
Liftoff of Falcon 9 and Dragon! pic.twitter.com/g6Oi8qwU2Y— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 23, 2021
"Main engine cutoff and stage separation confirmed. Second stage engine burn underway," SpaceX tweeted.
Main engine cutoff and stage separation confirmed. Second stage engine burn underway pic.twitter.com/dyvxICjavF— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 23, 2021
Dragon capsule has separated from the Falcon 9 rocket and is on the way to ISS.
The astronauts are two Americans, one Japanese and one French. They will continue efforts aboard the 21-year-old ISS, which orbits about 250 miles above the ground. This week, we noted that Russia would withdraw from the aging ISS by 2025 to build a space station of its own.
Once the astronauts arrive at the ISS early Saturday morning, they will join seven other astronauts and cosmonauts. According to Axios, four crewmembers of the ISS will fly back to Earth next week.
The latest SpaceX mission comes one week after NASA awarded SpaceX $2.9 billion to develop a lunar landing system to shuttle astronauts to the moon and back.