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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.

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Trevor Mogg
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