Skip to main content

SpaceX pics show gleaming Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 ahead of historic launch

With just days to go before NASA’s milestone Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), SpaceX has posted a set of photos showing the brand new Crew Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket that will star in Saturday’s big event.

The mission is notable for being the first operational crewed flight using SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, transporting NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, to the space station about 250 miles above Earth.

The mission follows the successful Demo-2 test flight for the Crew Dragon over the summer that saw NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken travel safely to and from the ISS.

While SpaceX’s rocket system is designed for reuse, this particular Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 booster are heading to space for the first time.

SpaceX’s photos (below) show a gleaming Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 inside a hangar at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 in the hangar at Launch Complex 39A ahead of launching four astronauts to the @space_station; liftoff targeted for Saturday, November 14 at 7:49 p.m. EST

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 9, 2020

The Crew Dragon spacecraft taking the four astronauts to the space station this weekend has been fitted with more robust outer panels to enable landings in stronger winds, with improvements also made to the spacecraft’s heat shield following an analysis of data from the Demo-2 mission.

The crew has named the spacecraft “Resilience.” Speaking recently about how they came up with it, Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins said, “We spent a good afternoon talking about the name we wanted for this vehicle and there were a lot of really good options … at the end, [Resilience] just felt right because … this has been a tough year for everybody, for a lot of different reasons, and we felt like if the name of our vehicle could give a little hope, a little inspiration, put a smile on people’s faces, then that is definitely what we wanted to do and we thought Resilience was the name that did it … we thought it would resonate with everybody.”

The Crew-1 astronauts will join NASA’s Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov aboard the space station, which this month marks 20 years of continuous human presence.

You can find out how inhabitants of the station work, rest and play by checking out these insightful videos made by other astronauts during previous missions.

Interested in watching the launch of the six-month mission this Saturday? Digital Trends has all of the details to catch it live.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
SpaceX’s Starship launch sparked a fire in a Texas state park
SpaceX's Starship launching from Boca Chica, Texas, in April 2023.

SpaceX successfully launched the most powerful rocket ever developed on Thursday, April 20, but just a few minutes after clearing the pad in Boca Chica, Texas, the 120-meter-tall Starship vehicle tumbled out of control and exploded in midair.

Despite the fiery end, the commercial spaceflight company led by Elon Musk described the maiden test mission as a success, giving the team plenty of data to work with so that it can improve the rocket’s design before attempting a complete flight that would see the upper stage of the vehicle reach orbit for the first time.

Read more
Will SpaceX’s failed Starship flight impact NASA’s moon plan?
Artist concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the Moon.

SpaceX’s Starship vehicle suffered what the spaceflight company called a “rapid unscheduled disassembly” on Thursday. In other words, it blew up.

The good news is that the uncrewed rocket cleared the pad and flew for around four minutes before meeting its fiery end. It means the SpaceX team will have plenty of valuable data on the rocket's flight performance, enabling it to refine the rocket’s systems to give it an improved chance of completing the second test flight and sending the Starship to orbit.

Read more
SpaceX Starship rocket launches in first test flight, but explodes in midair
spacex starship launch explosion

SpaceX has launched its integrated Starship for the first time, with the spacecraft and rocket leaving the launchpad on a test flight. However, not everything went smoothly during the test, as the rocket exploded before the separation of the Starship spacecraft from the Super Heavy rocket booster.

The launch from SpaceX's Starbase facility at Boca Chica in Texas saw the Starship leave the launch pad at 9:33 a.m. ET, consisting of the integrated Starship spacecraft and the Super Heavy Booster, which form the world's most powerful rocket. The combined Starship will be used for future missions to the moon and beyond, launched from a launch-and-catch tower standing at an impressive height of nearly 500 feet tall.

Read more