SpaceX’s very first Crew Dragon astronauts appear to be settling into life on the International Space Station (ISS) following their arrival there last week.
Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken gave their first full interview (below) from the ISS on Monday, discussing topics during the 20-minute broadcast that included the trip up, what they’ve been up to since arriving, and how they hope their work will inspire others.
Behnken said he was impressed with how well SpaceX and NASA’s training and simulation program matched the actual experience of the trip to the space station from launch to docking, though he added, “You just can’t simulate what it feels like to ride on a rocket into orbit — the vibrations, the coming alive of the engines, the coming alive of each stage as you sequence through the activities of loading, and the first stage igniting, and then the second stage igniting and continuing all the way into orbit, and finally the small engines that are around the vehicle that fire,” noting the “interesting melody” that could be heard while executing a burn to edge the spacecraft toward the ISS.
Asked what they’ve been up to in recent days, Hurley said they’d managed to fix the treadmill, part of the station’s important exercise equipment that helps astronauts keep fit during their stay on the orbiting outpost. The pair are also working on a range of science experiments as well as prepping for spacewalks toward the end of the month, among other tasks.
Hurley praised SpaceX for the way the team worked quickly to solve problems in the development of the Crew Dragon, an effort that culminated in the first astronaut launch from U.S. soil since the ending of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.
“When SpaceX put their mind to a particular problem in the development of the Crew Dragon, it’s all hands on deck and they worked very hard, and very quickly to what Bob and I were used to in the military as test pilots,” Hurley said. “It was really neat to see the teams come together to develop solutions to the problems that we encountered as we worked through the full development of the Crew Dragon.”
The two astronauts also spoke of their desire to see the younger generation follow in their footsteps, saying they hoped their mission, and others like it, “inspire children to jump into the science and technology field, engineering.”
There’s also a fair bit of talk about Tremor the dinosaur, a soft toy the astronauts’ young sons chose to join their fathers on their groundbreaking space trip.
Fancy taking a virtual trip around the living space currently occupied by Hurley and Behnken? Then dive into this Street View-style panoramic experience on board the space station and take a look around.
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