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First residential crew arrives aboard the International Space Station

First residential crew arrives aboard the International Space Station

On November 2, 2000, the first residential crew arrives aboard the International Space Station. The arrival of Expedition 1 marked the beginning of a new era of international cooperation in space and of the longest continuous human habitation in low Earth orbit, which continues to this day.

The space agencies of the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan and Europe agreed to cooperate on the ISS in 1998, and its first components were launched into orbit later that year. Five space shuttle flights and two unmanned Russian flights delivered many of its core components and partially assembled the space station. Two Russians, Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev, accompanied by NASA’s Bill Shepherd, were selected as the crew of Expedition 1.

The trio arrived at the ISS on a Russian Soyuz rocket launched from Kazakhstan. Unlike all subsequent missions, Expedition 1’s tasks consisted mostly of constructing and installing various components and activating others. This was sometimes easier said than done: the crew reported taking over a day to activate one of the station’s food warmers. Throughout their time in space, they were visited and resupplied by two unmanned Russian rockets and three space shuttle missions, one of which brought the photovoltaic arrays, giant solar panels, which provide the station with most of its power. Shepherd, Gidzenko and Krikalev became the first humans to adjust to long-term life in low orbit, circling the Earth roughly 15.5 times a day and exercising at least two hours a day in order to offset the muscle atrophy that occurs in low gravity.

On March 10, the space shuttle Discovery brought three new residents to relieve Expedition 1, who landed back on Earth at the Kennedy Space Center on March 21. Since then, humans have continuously resided on the ISS, with plans to continue until at least 2030. 236 people from 18 nations have visited the station and a number of new modules have been added, many for the purpose of research into biology, material sciences, the feasibility of further human space travel and more.

READ MORE: The 5 Deadliest Disasters of the Space Race

NASA Astronaut to Highlight Space Station History from Orbit

HOUSTON — NASA's next astronaut to launch to the International Space Station will use his unique position — in both time and space — to share the history of the orbiting outpost.

Jeff Williams, in March, will become the first American to spend three long-duration expeditions aboard the space station and will set a new U.S. record for cumulative time off the Earth. The astronaut will dedicate part of his upcoming six-month expedition to highlighting how the orbital complex came to be what it is today.

"It occurred to me a few months ago that I have gotten the unique opportunity to have gone in the early days, before Expedition 1, to the space station for the first time and then to be there again, about halfway through assembly with a crew of two, and then back with a crew of three, and then later with a crew of six," Williams said in an interview after a briefing at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston on Thursday (Jan. 7). "So my career covers the history of the space station." [Inside the Space Station: Take the Video Tour]

Williams, whose first trip to the outpost was aboard space shuttle Atlantis in May 2000, six months before the space station's first expedition crew arrived, is now set to join the Expedition 47/48 more than 15 years later. He will launch with cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos on Russia's Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 18.

Once aboard the orbital laboratory, Williams, Ovchinin and Skripochka will join Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, U.S. astronaut Tim Kopra and British astronaut Tim Peake with the European Space Agency (ESA), who all launched in December. Later, after those three depart in June, Williams will command the Expedition 48 crew, including Ovchinin and Skripochka, as well as Roscosmos cosmonaut Anatoli Ivanishin, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

"I'm really looking forward to flying with this crew," Williams said. "I think if you add it up, I've been on orbit with about 45 different people, and this will add at least five more."

During their stay, the Expedition 47/48 crewmembers will facilitate about 250 research investigations and technology demos, as well as oversee the re-supply of the station with the arrivals and departures of American and Russian cargo vehicles. The crew is also expected to be aboard when a prototype habitat, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), is inflated and when the first international docking adapter is installed. This adapter will enable future U.S. commercial crew spacecraft to visit the station.

Amidst that work, Williams intends to devote some of his time and outreach activities to taking a look back at what the station has accomplished and where that might lead as future missions embark outward into the solar system.

"If you go and survey the workforce right now and survey those in the general public who are following what we do, as is always the case, in the minds of many of them they don't have the awareness of how we got to where we are today," Williams said. "So, given my personal history going back . I thought it would be a good opportunity to rehearse some of the significant milestones and the depth of history behind getting the space station built."

Williams, whose father was a high school history teacher, said he hopes to remind the world of the significance of the history behind his soon-to-be home off the Earth.

"To me, it is fair to argue that the greatest achievement of the space station program is the space station itself, and that's what I want to try, in some way, to maybe enrich the awareness of the public [about]," he said. "Not so much because of the history, but because of what that history enables us to do in the future."

Working together

It may seem that it&rsquod be difficult for America and Russia to work together, after the two countries had spent decades embattled in a space race. And yet, the American astronaut and the Russian cosmonauts worked together seamlessly. In fact, NASA was adamant on partnering with Russia. "It turned out to be an excellent partnership," said George Abbey, the former director of the Johnson Space Center.

Cosmonaut Krikalev recalled that the crew had difficulties in training, but none were in their interactions as friends. Instead, in working through the difficulties of figuring out the right training materials and the right simulations (because no one had ever done this before), the crew members felt that they began sharing a single brain.

One day, Shepherd met with hardware developers and asked a few questions. When Krikalev came to the meeting a little later, he repeated the same three to four questions. &ldquoWe were just like, oh my god, they're sharing a brain now, these two," said Ginger Kerrick, who was the Russian training integration instructor for Expedition 1.

First crew starts living and working on the International Space Station

ESA Press Release Nr. 70-2000
Today at 10:53 Moscow time (07:53 GMT), a new chapter opened in the history of Space with the launch of the first permanent crew to the International Space Station from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Expedition 1 crew, composed of Space Station commander Bill Shepherd (US), Soyuz commander Yuri Gidzenko (Russia) and flight engineer Sergei Krikalev (Russia), will arrive at the Station two days after launch and will stay there for nearly four months, until the replacement astronauts (Expedition 2) take over from them in February next year.

The launch of the Expedition 1 Crew will not only be an historical moment for humankind with the establishment of a permanent human presence on the outpost in orbit, but also for Europe and ESA, since the crew will perform a number of tasks related to the system and experiments provided by ESA.

The crew will, for example, install the Control Post Computers of the ESA-provided Data Management System for the Russian service module Zvezda, which is the "brain" of the module, and thereby of the whole early Space Station.

The astronauts will also unload from a Progress re-supply vehicle, slated for launch on 1 February 2001, the electronics unit for the European Global Time System (GTS) experiment and mount it inside Zvezda. The first crew is scheduled to start the GTS which allows the synchronization of radio-controlled clocks and watches from space and, in the longer term, to disable for instance stolen cars and credit cards.

The Expedition 1 crew will also witness the arrival of the first Italian-built Multi-Purpose Logistics Module "Leonardo" with a Space Shuttle in February next year. Furthermore, one of the crew members, Yuri Gidzenko, served as Mir commander during the 179-day Euromir-95 mission and was a fellow crew member of ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter.

The first European will visit the Space Station as of next year. ESA astronaut Umberto Guidoni (Italy)will be on board Space Shuttle mission STS-102 currently scheduled for April 2001.

For further information, please contact:

Franco Bonacina, ESA Media Relations
Tel: + 33(0)
Cell: + 335(0)08.74.6109
Fax: + 33(0)

Victor Glover becomes 1st Black astronaut to arrive at space station for long-term stay

Glover is just the 15th Black NASA astronaut to reach space.

Early Tuesday morning (Nov. 17), the 44-year-old NASA astronaut came aboard the International Space Station, becoming the first African American ever to begin a full six-month stint on the orbiting lab.

Glover and three crewmates — fellow NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins and Shannon Walker and Japan's Soichi Noguchi — left Earth on Sunday evening (Nov. 15) aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule "Resilience." The launch kicked off Crew-1, SpaceX's first-ever contracted, fully operational astronaut mission to the space station for NASA.

Crew-1 is even more historic thanks to Glover's milestone, which is long overdue considering that rotating astronaut crews have been living aboard the orbiting lab continuously for 20 years now. In typical astronaut fashion, Glover has been self-effacing about his place in history, deflecting the spotlight onto his crewmates and the other people who have worked hard to make Crew-1 a success.

"It is something to be celebrated once we accomplish it, and, you know, I am honored to be in this position and to be a part of this great and experienced crew," Glover said during a news conference last week, before Crew-1 got off the ground. "And I look forward to getting up there and doing my best to make sure that, you know, we are worthy of all the work that's been put into setting us up for this mission."

Glover isn't the first African American astronaut to spend time on the station. A handful of others visited the orbiting lab during space shuttle missions, but those were brief jaunts lasting just a few weeks. Glover will spend more than six months in orbit, serving as a crewmember on the space station's Expedition 64 and Expedition 65 missions.

As The New York Times noted, more than 300 NASA astronauts have reached space to date, but Glover is just the 15th African American member of this exclusive club. (Crew-1 is the first spaceflight for Glover, a U.S. Navy commander and pilot who was selected as an astronaut in 2013.) The 16th should join soon: Jeanette Epps will ride Boeing's CST-100 Starliner capsule on its first operational mission to the space station, which is scheduled to launch sometime next year.

Both SpaceX and Boeing signed multibillion-dollar deals in 2014 with NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which has encouraged the development of private astronaut taxis to fill the shoes of the retired space shuttles. SpaceX is now fully up and running in this regard, but Starliner still needs to ace an uncrewed test flight to the station before it can carry astronauts.

Starliner already took one crack at this uncrewed mission in December 2019 but suffered a glitch that stranded the capsule in an orbit too low for a rendezvous. Boeing aims to launch attempt number two early next year success would help pave the way for the mission of Epps and her crewmates.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018 illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

Assembling the ISS: Initial launches and construction

On Nov. 20, 1998, the first portion of what would become the international space station launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan. This initial piece of cargo, the Zarya Functional Cargo Block (FGB), functioned as a short-term control module during the early stages of the construction process. The following month, Space Shuttle Endeavour blasted off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center with the Unity Node component in tow.

Days later, Endeavour would rendezvous with Zarya. With the help of Endeavour's robotic arm, the onboard crew next captured Zarya and joined the module with Unity, creating the first two components of the early ISS. In the ensuing days after, the crew then completed the connection between the two modules. Piece by piece, such installations would continue over the course of the next 13 years.

While the station wasn't completed until 2011, by the fall of 2000, the early ISS was prepared to receive its first "long-duration residents." On Halloween of 2000, what would be the first trio of such occupants launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. On Nov. 2, Sergey Krikalev, William Shepard, and Yuri Gidzenko arrived at the station becoming the first three humans to officially call the ISS home.

In the decades since this pioneering first, humans have continuously occupied the ISS for nearly 20 years. Over this time, more than 230 human spacefarers from 18 countries have visited the station, according to NASA. Additionally, the station has also hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from more than 100 countries, per the space agency.

NASA, AxiomSpace Leaders Discuss Historic Ax-1 Space Station Mission

NASA and AxiomSpace have outlined plans for the first all-private crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS), targeted to launch aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon no sooner than January 2022. NASA’s Phil McAlister, Angela Hart and Dana Weigel were joined for Monday’s media teleconference by AxiomSpace President and CEO Mike Suffredini, together with former shuttle astronaut, ISS commander and America’s most experienced spacewalker Mike Lopez-Alegria, who will command the historic Ax-1 mission.

But in June 2019, as the Commercial Crew Program completed its development and readied for its first astronaut flights, NASA issued a research announcement to outline the forward path for Private Astronaut Missions (PAMs) to the station, lasting up to 30 days at a time. In the announcement, the agency highlighted its intent to “accommodate up to two short-duration private astronaut missions per year”, an aim which the participants at today’s media teleconference appeared to endorse.

Former ISS Program Manager Mr. Suffredini, who is now President and CEO of AxiomSpace, Inc., indicated a planned flight cadence of “once every seven months or so”, which conceivably could see an Ax-2 mission as early as next summer or fall. He added that by the Ax-3 flight it is AxiomSpace’s intent to be essentially self-sufficient—beyond the food-and-water essentials—in terms of supporting the needs of its personnel on the ISS.

And with former ISS commander and the world’s most experienced female spacefarer Peggy Whitson having been identified as Lopez-Alegria’s backup for Ax-1, she remains a contender to command one of those follow-up missions. “All Axiom crews will have backups,” AxiomSpace told AmericaSpace, “ensuring Axiom missions will proceed uninterrupted in the event of any changes in the crew composition.”

Although there existed much speculation that Ax-1 would include movie star Tom Cruise and film producer Doug Liman, it has since become clear that their AxiomSpace flight to the ISS would be delayed by a year or two. Joining former U.S. Navy captain Lopez-Alegria aboard Ax-1 will be Larry Connor, an entrepreneur and non-profit activist investor who becomes the first private citizen to serve as pilot of a crewed orbital ship. “Each Axiom mission and crew will be unique,” AxiomSpace told us. “Some potential private astronauts express specific interest in serving as the mission pilot and we are happy to serve that demand.”

Currently 71 years old, Connor will become the oldest human ever to board the space station and the second-oldest space traveler of all time, after John Glenn. Rounding out the crew are Canadian investor and philanthropist Mark Pathy and former Israeli fighter pilot, impact investor and philanthropist Eytan Stibbe. All three reportedly paid around $55 million for their respective seats on the mission.

In his comments, Lopez-Alegria noted the “huge privilege” to be commanding Ax-1 and admitted that he had been “evangelizing about the democratization of space for many years”. On his final flight, launched via Soyuz in September 2006, he flew alongside Iranian-American business magnate and SFP Anousheh Ansari.

And following initial agreements between NASA and AxiomSpace early last year, plans are already well advanced for the Houston, Texas-based organization to furnish its own pressurized suite of commercial research and habitation modules to the station from 2024 onwards.

Dana Weigel, who serves as deputy manager for the ISS at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, explained that the agency was “very focused on leveraging station” for commercial missions and that the new ability “to open our doors” via the Commercial Crew Program made possible “unprecedented opportunities”.

When Lopez-Alegria, Connor, Pathy and Stibbe float into the ISS next year, they can expect to be welcomed aboard by a seven-strong expedition crew, which will create a situation with as many as 11 humans aboard, not dissimilar to last month’s Expedition 65 “direct handover”.

With training now beginning to ramp up for the Ax-1 quartet, Lopez-Alegria offered some pointers of their packed timelines over the next few months. The crew is slated to begin zero-gravity parabolic flights and centrifuge training next week, before embarking on an extended “camping trip” to Alaska for leadership and skills training in July.

And with an all-new Crew Dragon expected to lift the Crew-3 astronauts to the ISS in October, that raises the possibility that Resilience may be the Ax-1 vehicle of choice.

Alternatively, Mr. Suffredini hinted that Dragon Endeavour—veteran of last year’s historic Demo-2 mission and currently docked to the ISS in support of Crew-2—might be picked, although the decision will be heavily dependent upon flight readiness.

“This truly is a renaissance,” said Phil McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight development at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He remarked that although “history can feel incremental when you’re in it, but we’re really in it this year”. And Mr. Suffredini agreed that although he hates to over-use the word “historic”, 2021 and beyond are certainly shaping up to be a historic time for human exploration of space.

Current plans envisage the Ax-1 mission to launch no sooner than January 2022, although with a packed manifest of crewed and uncrewed visiting vehicles at the ISS that date must remain a fluid one. There are only two International Docking Adapters (IDAs) on the Harmony node—one forward-facing, the other space-facing—which can accommodate Crew Dragons, with the Crew-3 vehicle expected to occupy one port from October 2021 through next spring. Additionally, the CRS-24 Cargo Dragon is expected to require one port in the December-January timeframe, with plans for the long-delayed Crew Flight Test (CFT) of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner still in flux, but anticipated late this fall or early 2022.

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&mdash A former U.S. Navy SEAL, a Russian fighter pilot and a Russian engineer have taken social distancing to its extreme, launching off Earth for a six-month stay aboard the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoli Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of the Russian federal space corporation Roscosmos lifted off on Russia's Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft on Thursday (April 9). Riding atop the first Soyuz 2.1a rocket to fly with a crew from Site 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the three crewmates launched at 4:05 a.m. EDT (0805 GMT or 1:05 p.m. local Kazakh time) on a six-hour journey to reach the space station.

The launch was viewed by a fewer number of spectators than normal in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID- 19, both on Earth and into space. The crew, who followed the usual quarantine period before the flight, forewent the practice of inviting their family members and other guests to Baikonur to watch the launch.

"We are implementing the exact same precautions as the rest of the world is, with social distancing," Cassidy said in a NASA interview before the launch. "The whole group has been very strict about no interactions beside the control team."

"We have taken extra measures to make sure the crew arrives at the space station in good health," said Ivanishin at a pre-flight press conference. "We didn't have any guests, so we didn't have any family members or friends arrive. We have been completely isolated at this final stage."

The crew's families watched the liftoff from the cosmonaut training center in Star City, outside of Moscow, instead.

Soyuz MS-16 crew launches to space station. Click to enlarge in pop-up window.

Reaching space about nine minutes after they left the ground, the Soyuz crew began a four-orbit rendezvous with the space station. They are expected to dock with the orbiting lab's Poisk module at 10:16 a.m. EDT (1416 GMT). Update: Docking occurred at 10:13 a.m. EDT (1413 GMT) while the vehicles were more than 250 miles (400 km) over the north Atlantic Ocean.

For the next week, Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner will serve aboard the station with Expedition 62 crew members Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos and NASA astronauts Drew Morgan and Jessica Meir. Skripochka will turn over command of the station to Cassidy on Wednesday (April 15), before departing with Morgan and Meir on Soyuz MS-15 for a landing in Kazakhstan on Friday.

Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner will then serve as the three-person Expedition 63 crew until their own scheduled departure in October.

"It will be an interesting period of time," said Cassidy. "We have a very short handover with our previous Soyuz crew, so that is just nine days for us to get our 'space legs' as a crew and then off we go with the plan. For me, my days will be full whether I am by myself or with other crewmates, so I don't think of this as any different than a typical mission with a different complement."

"The specialists on the ground will determine how to use the time and set priorities and we will just get it done," he said.

And they may not be alone.

SpaceX is preparing to launch the first crewed test flight of its Dragon spacecraft, possibly as soon as mid- to late-May. NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will fly as the Demo-2 crew to the space station for what is expected to be a two- to three-month stay with the Expedition 63 crew.

Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner are also scheduled to oversee the arrival of several uncrewed resupply spacecraft, including Japan's ninth H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), a Russian Progress, a Northrop Grumman Cygnus and the first cargo-configured, second-generation SpaceX Dragon capsule.

Cassidy, 50, is on his third spaceflight. He previously helped build the station as a space shuttle mission specialist in 2009, before his first stay as a member of the Expedition 35/36 crew in 2013. His command of Expedition 63 bookends the start of a continuous human residency aboard the space station almost 20 years ago.

"Bill Shepherd was the commander of Expedition 1, a Navy SEAL, and 20 years later, I will be commander of the space station, also a Navy SEAL," said Cassidy.

Ivanishin and Vagner were originally assigned to the Soyuz MS-16 backup crew, until an injury temporarily grounded cosmonaut Nikolai Tikhonov and Roscosmos decided to replace both him and his crewmate, Andrei Babkin, in February.

Ivanishin, 51, is also on his third spaceflight, having served on Expeditions 29/30 in 2012 and 48/49 in 2016. This is the first mission for Vagner, 34, after becoming a cosmonaut in 2010.

"I've dreamed of doing this for many, many years," said Vagner. "It is hard to leave those who are staying behind in this challenging time, but I want to thank everyone for helping us take off."

Soyuz MS-16 is Russia's 62nd Soyuz spacecraft to launch for the International Space Station since 2000 and 145th to fly since the first Soyuz mission in 1967.

Soyuz MS-16 launches for the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, April 9, 2020. (Roscosmos)

Soyuz MS-16 crew members Anatoli Ivanishin, Chris Cassidy and Ivan Vagner wave from the base of their Soyuz 2.1a rocket prior to boarding the vehicle on April 9, 2020. (Roscosmos)

Soyuz MS-16 crewmates Chris Cassidy of NASA (at left), Anatoli Ivanishin (at center) and Ivan Vagner, both of Roscosmos. (Andrey Shelepin/Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center)

Crew-1 Dragon Arrives At the International Space Station

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience successfully docked to the International Space Station at 11:01 p.m. EST Monday, transporting NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

An international crew of astronauts is en route to the International Space Station following a successful launch on the first NASA-certified commercial human spacecraft system in history. NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 mission lifted off at 7:27 p.m. EST Sunday from Launch Complex 39A at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelled the Crew Dragon spacecraft with NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), into orbit to begin a six-month science mission aboard the space station.

"NASA is delivering on its commitment to the American people and our international partners to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective missions to the International Space Station using American private industry," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "This is an important mission for NASA, SpaceX and our partners at JAXA, and we look forward to watching this crew arrive at station to carry on our partnership for all of humanity."

The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Resilience, will dock autonomously to the forward port of the station's Harmony module about 11 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16. NASA Television and the agency's website are providing ongoing live coverage through docking, hatch opening, and the ceremony to welcome the crew aboard the orbiting laboratory.

"I could not be more proud of the work we've done here today," said Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX. "Falcon 9 looked great, Dragon was dropped off into a beautiful orbit about 12 minutes into the mission, and we'll get more data as we go."

The Crew-1 mission is the first of six crewed missions NASA and SpaceX will fly as part of the agency's Commercial Crew Program. This mission has several firsts, including:

The first flight of the NASA-certified commercial system designed for crew transportation, which moves the system from development into regular flights
The first international crew of four to launch on an American commercial spacecraft
The first time the space station's long duration expedition crew size will increase from six to seven crew members, which will add to the crew time available for research and
The first time the Federal Aviation Administration has licensed a human orbital spaceflight launch.
The astronauts named the Crew Dragon spacecraft Resilience, highlighting the dedication teams involved with the mission have displayed and to demonstrate that when we work together, there is no limit to what we can achieve. They named it in honor of their families, colleagues, and fellow citizens.

"Watching this mission launch is a special moment for NASA and our SpaceX team," said Steve Stich, manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. "We are looking forward to getting this crew to station to continue our important work, and I want to thank the teams for the amazing effort to make the next generation of human space transportation possible."

During flight, SpaceX commands the spacecraft from its mission control center in Hawthorne, California, and NASA teams monitor space station operations throughout the flight from the Mission Control Center at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Hopkins, Glover, Walker, and Noguchi will join the Expedition 64 crew of Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, both of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA.

"It is an honor to have our Japanese astronaut launch on this Crew-1 Dragon as the first astronaut of the International Partner participating in the ISS program," said Hiroshi Sasaki, JAXA vice president. "We look forward to having him conduct lots of science and demonstrate the technology, for here on Earth and for the future. I would also like to thank NASA and SpaceX for their tremendous effort to make this happen."

Rubins, Hopkins, Glover, Walker, and Noguchi will participate in a live crew news conference from orbit at 9:55 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, on NASA TV and the agency's website.

Michael Hopkins is commander of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the Crew-1 mission. Hopkins is responsible for all phases of flight, from launch to re-entry. He also will serve as an Expedition 64 flight engineer aboard the station. Selected as a NASA astronaut in 2009, Hopkins spent 166 days in space as a long-duration crew member of Expeditions 37 and 38 and completed two spacewalks totaling 12 hours and 58 minutes. Born in Lebanon, Missouri, Hopkins grew up on a farm outside Richland, Missouri. He has a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Illinois, and a master's degree in aerospace engineering from Stanford University. Before joining NASA, Hopkins was a flight test engineer with the U.S. Air Force. Follow Hopkins on Twitter.

Victor Glover is the pilot of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and second-in-command for the mission. Glover is responsible for spacecraft systems and performance. He also will be a long-duration space station crew member. Selected as an astronaut in 2013, this is his first spaceflight.

The California native holds a Bachelor of Science degree in general engineering from California Polytechnic State University, a Master of Science degree in flight test engineering and a master's degree military operational art and science from Air University, and a Master of Science degree in systems engineering from Naval Postgraduate School. Glover is a naval aviator and was a test pilot in the F/A‐18 Hornet, Super Hornet, and EA‐18G Growler aircraft. Follow Glover on Twitter and Instagram.

Shannon Walker is a mission specialist for Crew-1. As a mission specialist, she works closely with the commander and pilot to monitor the vehicle during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. She also is responsible for monitoring timelines, telemetry, and consumables. Once aboard the station, Walker will become a flight engineer for Expedition 64. Selected as a NASA astronaut in 2004, Walker launched to the International Space Station aboard the Russian Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft as the co-pilot, and spent 161 days aboard the orbiting laboratory. More than 130 microgravity experiments were conducted during her stay in areas such as human research, biology, and materials science. A Houston native, Walker received a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics from Rice University, as well as a Master of Science degree and a doctorate in space physics, both from Rice University, in 1992 and 1993, respectively.

Soichi Noguchi also is a mission specialist for Crew-1, working with the commander and pilot to monitor the vehicle during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight, and keeping watch on timelines, telemetry and consumables. Noguchi also will become a long-duration crew member aboard the space station. He was selected as an astronaut candidate by the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA, currently the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) in May 1996. Noguchi is a veteran of two spaceflights. During STS-114 in 2005, Noguchi became the first Japanese astronaut to perform a spacewalk outside the space station. He performed a total of three spacewalks during the mission, accumulating 20 hours and 5 minutes of spacewalking time. He launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft in 2009, to return to the station as a long-duration crew member. The Crew Dragon will be the third spacecraft Noguchi has flown to the orbiting laboratory. Follow Noguchi on Twitter and Instagram.

The crew will conduct science and maintenance during a six-month stay aboard the orbiting laboratory and will return in spring 2021. It is scheduled to be the longest human space mission launched from the United States. The Crew Dragon spacecraft is capable of staying in orbit for at least 210 days, as a NASA requirement.

Crew Dragon also is delivering more than 500 pounds of cargo, new science hardware and experiments inside, including Food Physiology, a study of the effects of an optimized diet on crew health and, Genes in Space-7, a student-designed experiment that aims to better understand how spaceflight affects brain function, enabling scientists to keep astronauts healthy as they prepare for long-duration missions in low-Earth orbit and beyond.

Among the science and research investigations the crew will support during its six-month mission are a study using chips with tissue that mimics the structure and function of human organs to understand the role of microgravity on human health and diseases and translate those findings to improve human health on Earth, growing radishes in different types of light and soils as part of ongoing efforts to produce food in space, and testing a new system to remove heat from NASA's next generation spacesuit, the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU).

During their stay on the orbiting laboratory, Crew-1 astronauts expect to see a range of uncrewed spacecraft including the next generation of SpaceX cargo Dragon spacecraft, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus, and the Boeing CST-100 Starliner on its uncrewed flight test to the station. They also will conduct a variety of spacewalks and welcome crews of the Russian Soyuz vehicle and the next SpaceX Crew Dragon in 2021.

At the conclusion of the mission, the Crew-1 astronauts will board Crew Dragon, which will then autonomously undock, depart the space station, and re-enter Earth's atmosphere. Crew Dragon also will return to Earth important and time-sensitive research. NASA and SpaceX are capable of supporting seven splashdown sites located off Florida's east coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. Upon splashdown, the SpaceX recovery ship will pick up the crew and return to shore.

NASA's Commercial Crew Program is delivering on its goal of safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station from the United States through a partnership with American private industry. This partnership is changing the arc of human spaceflight history by opening access to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station to more people, more science, and more commercial opportunities.

The space station remains the springboard to NASA's next great leap in space exploration, including future missions to the Moon and, eventually, to Mars. For more than 20 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. As a global endeavor, 242 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 3,000 research and educational investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

History-making Ingenuity cheered by outer-space ‘neighbor,’ astronaut Victor Glover

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As word spread that the Ingenuity helicopter had completed its short but nonetheless historic first flight, congratulations sailed in from all over the planet — as well as from a “neighbor” in outer space.

Astronaut Victor Glover tweeted from the International Space Station: “Wow! The shadow of greatness, #MarsHelicopter first flight on another world complete! Congrats to our out of this world and out of that world team at @NASAJPL.”

Wow! The shadow of greatness, #MarsHelicopter first flight on another world complete! Congrats to our out of this world and out of that world team at @NASAJPL. pic.twitter.com/esWASeK9T3

&mdash Victor Glover (@AstroVicGlover) April 19, 2021

This June 15, 2020, photo made available by NASA shows astronaut Victor Glover. The Pomona native who graduated from Ontario High School climbed aboard the International Space Station in November. He was asked by Inland Empire students what that experience feels like during a live hook up on March 18, 2021. (Norah Moran/NASA via AP)

The Pomona native knows a little something about making history himself. He is serving as pilot and second-in-command for Resilience, the Crew-1 SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, docked at the space station for a long-range stint that is drawing to a close.

Glover became the first African American to serve on a full six-month mission on the orbiting lab when his crew arrived on Nov. 17. He’s also just the 15th Black astronaut to reach space.

Glover grew up in Pomona. graduated from Ontario High and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (he’s also got three Masters degrees).

Glover and fellow NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins and Shannon Walker, along with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, are expected to return to Earth on April 28.

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