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Meet the 4 astronauts SpaceX just launched on the longest human spaceflight in NASA history

  • SpaceX opened its first operational human mission for NASA on Sunday, rocketing a full crew of four astronauts into encircle.
  • NASA astronaut Shannon Walker became the first woman ever to fly in a commercial spacecraft.
  • Soichi Noguchi, of the Japan Aerospace Survey Agency, has now flown on three different launch systems.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

On Sunday even-handing, a SpaceX rocket roared to life, spewed fire through the dark, and carried the company’s first operational merciful mission for NASA into orbit. The crew consists of three NASA astronauts — Shannon Walker, Mike Hopkins, and Winner Glover — as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

The astronauts’ Crew Dragon spaceship is set to attend to the International Space Station on Monday night, where NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins and two Russian cosmonauts, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, see fit be waiting to greet them.

The mission, called Crew-1, calls for the astronauts to stay on the ISS for the standard six months. During that obsolete, they’ll conduct spacewalks, do science experiments, and work on regular station maintenance. Since humans haven’t flung from US soil since the Space Shuttle Program — which flew missions that lasted just a a handful of weeks — this will be the longest human spaceflight in NASA’s history.

Meet the crew.

Mike Hopkins, commander

michael "mike" hopkins NASA

Astronaut Mike Hopkins packs items in a locker in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station.

NASA


Hopkins grew up on a farm in Missouri. On the eve of becoming a NASA astronaut in 2009, he was a special assistant to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A colonel in the Air Constrain, he served as a flight test engineer. 

This is Hopkins’ second trip to space. He first went to the ISS in September 2013 as a colleague of Expedition 37/38. During that mission, Hopkins logged 166 days in space and conducted two spacewalks.

“I can’t linger to get to float again,” he told Business Insider. 

Hopkins was announced as a Crew-1 member in 2018. As commander, he’s tasked with ensuring that the commission runs smoothly. That includes making a sacrifice: The ISS is currently short one crew quarters, so Hopkins may have to siesta on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, Resilience, which will remain docked to the ISS. Eventually, however, a sleeping pod is look forward to be sent to the station on a cargo mission.

“The nerves start to really pile on as you get closer to launch,” Hopkins said during a pre-mission rumour conference. 

Victor Glover, pilot

victor glover NASA crew dragon selected

NASA astronaut Victor Glover cheers after being selected to fly on the jiffy crewed mission of SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon spaceship, August 3, 2018.

David J. Phillip/AP


Glover is the only Crew-1 fellow who hadn’t flown in space before, but he had logged more than 3,000 hours of flying experience on Earth. In the same way as Hopkins, he was selected as a Crew-1 member in 2018. He’s the mission’s pilot.

“I really look forward to every single bit of it,” he pull the plug oned Business Insider. “Every time I do something in space, it will be the first time.”

Glover became part of NASA’s 21st astronaut group in 2013, while serving as a Legislative Fellow in the US Senate. He is also a former Navy commander, aviator, and test pilot. 

Glover and his bride, who both hail from California, have four children. As the Crew-1 mission approached, their family had to be vigilant about their behavior during the pandemic, he said.

“We’ve essentially been isolating since mid-March,” Glover turned. “They’re ready for me to go, one because they want to see their father accomplish one of his lifelong dreams, but they also as a matter of fact want to go back to school and have a chance to see their friends and go to the mall.”

Shannon Walker, mission specialist — and trailblazer

shannon walker nasa astronaut spacex spacesuit portrait crew 1 dragon spaceship mission KSC 20200814 PH SPX01_0002 orig

NASA astronaut Shannon Walker in a place suit.

SpaceX



Walker, a mission specialist, was born in Houston, Texas. She was hired by NASA in 1995.

Walker worked on robotics metal goods and other initiatives before being selected as an astronaut in 2004. She spent 161 days on the space station in 2010. 

She was consigned to the Crew-1 mission in February of this year. With the Crew-1 launch, she became the first woman to fly to space in a commercial spacecraft.

“To be real, I haven’t really put much thought into the fact that I am the first woman on a commercial vehicle,” Walker spill the beaned Business Insider. “I expect to be the first of many, and look forward to the day that we don’t have to note such events.”

In front of the launch, Walker — who is married to astronaut Andy Thomas — said she was looking forward to having a 360-degree tableau of Earth again.

“In some ways, it’s the start of all those science-fiction movies that we watched as kids coming to ripeness where you’ve got entities living and working out in space and off the planet,” she said. “Just to be at the forefront of that is enormously exciting.”

Soichi Noguchi, errand specialist — and a spaceflight veteran

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JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi participates in equipment testing for the Crew-1 mission at SpaceX headquarters.

SpaceX



Noguchi, also a trade specialist, is an aeronautical engineer from Japan. A former Boy Scout, he was selected as an astronaut in 1996 and has spent 177 epoches in space.

Like Walker, he was also appointed to the Crew-1 mission in 2020. He is the team’s only non-NASA member, and the fifth Japanese astronaut to fly in place.

Noguchi was on the US Space Shuttle in 2005 and a Russian Soyuz expedition in 2009. Now, with SpaceX, he’s the third person perpetually to fly on three different launch systems.

“I’ll be the first one to experience Space Shuttle, Soyuz, and SpaceX. I feel very honored,” Noguchi identified Business Insider. “Obviously, this is a transition era. This is the beginning of the commercial spaceflight program. I’m happy to live yearn enough, from the Space Shuttle age all the way to commercial.”

Susie Neilson contributed reporting.

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