Created: November 20, 2020 11:13 AM
The most experienced astronaut on SpaceX's newly launched crew said Thursday that riding a Dragon capsule to orbit is like being inside the actual mythical beast, and a lot more fun than NASA's shuttles or Russian flights.
As for the crew's space rookie, he pulled more G's, or gravity forces, flying fighter jets in the Navy, but they didn't last nearly as long as they did during his "awesome" first rocket launch, he said.
SpaceX delivered its second crew of astronauts to the International Space Station late Monday night, just 27 hours after their launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
In their first press conference from orbit, the four astronauts described Sunday night's launch and their first impressions of the space station, their new home until spring.
Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi — who became only the third person to launch aboard three kinds of spacecraft — said "This feels like you are actually inside a dragon bringing us up to space, so that was quite a feeling."
First-time space flyer Victor Glover, the crew's pilot, said the G-forces gradually built up after the rocket's second stage kicked in.
"In a fighter, you can't hold 4 G's for several minutes, not most aircraft," Glover noted.
"I've been able to feel that for a few seconds. But to have that for an extended period was just truly amazing."
The astronauts named their capsule Resilience to provide hope amid not only the pandemic, but the year's civil and political unrest.
"I hope that this inspires people to literally and figuratively look up," said Glover, a Navy commander who became the first African-American to move into the space station full time.
The astronauts chose a small, plush Baby Yoda as their zero-gravity indicator for the same reason — "when you see him, it's hard not to smile," said commander Mike Hopkins.
The crew had started watching the Disney and "Star Wars" TV series, "The Mandalorian," featuring Baby Yoda.
"The ride into space was probably a little rougher than Baby Yoda was used to," Hopkins said.
The SpaceX crew — which also includes Shannon Walker — joined one other American and two Russians at the orbiting outpost.
It's the first time the space station has had seven long-term crew members all at once, which is expected to boost scientific output.
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