While en route to the International Space Station, the four astronauts of NASA's Crew-1 mission — along with special passenger Baby Yoda — showed viewers around their SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.
The brief tour on NASA TV was webcast live Monday (Nov. 16) at 4:48 p.m. EST (2148 GMT) as NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi used a small stuffed Baby Yoda (AKA "The Child" from "The Mandalorian" Star Wars TV show) to point viewers around their temporary living quarters. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the quartet's Crew-1 mission on Sunday night (Nov. 15) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
If all goes according to plan, the Crew Dragon — which the astronauts have christened "Resilience" — should hook up with the International Space Station tonight at 11 p.m. EST (0400 GMT), and you can watch the coverage live on Space.com. But for now, the astronauts are making do in relatively tight quarters, Walker told viewers.
Live updates: SpaceX's Crew-1 astronaut launch for NASA
"As you can see, with the four of us in this Dragon capsule, it's quite a bit more crowded than it was with Doug [Hurley] and Bob [Behnken]," Walker said, perched by a window and gently moving floating Baby Yoda out of her way. Crew-1 is the first operational SpaceX mission for NASA after the Demo-2 test flight, which lifted off in May with NASA astronauts Behnken and Hurley on board.
"We actually have bags stowed all over the place," Walker said, pointing out packages of emergency equipment and clothing. Food and bottles of water are stashed around the spacecraft as well; because air collects in the bottle every time you take a swig, she explained, before taking a drink you need to rotate the water gently to move the air bubbles out of the way.
Walker said the crew has been spending the last 21 hours after launch "staying out of each other's way" and "waiting for the next engine burn." (It takes several orbit adjustments, most of which are automated, to reach the International Space Station.) But that didn't detract from the excitement of the new equipment.
Hopkins, whose last ride to space was in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, took a few moments to admire the three touchscreens the Crew Dragon sports in its cockpit.
"It's actually quite nice, the touchscreens we have for Resilience," Hopkins said. And if the touchscreen doesn't work, he added, there are push buttons down below to let the crew do all critical functionalities.
Another plus for Dragon is two hatches, said Glover.
"Baby Yoda and I wanted to talk to you about the hatches," he said, pointing out that the crew entered Resilience through a side hatch but will float into the space station using a forward hatch at the top of the gumdrop-shaped capsule.
Glover, who is on his first mission in space, also got a present during the tour: one of the traditional gold astronaut pins all rookie spaceflyers receive after going past 60 miles (100 kilometers) in altitude.
Meanwhile, Noguchi squatted in the area below the seats to show where all the equipment is stored. He joked that the on-board fridge has ice cream, but clarified it actually carries experiments. "It's an amazingly vast area of storage," he said, as the camera swept across the suite of small lockers. "And there are some other creatures slowly coming through," he added, as Baby Yoda swept by.
As the crew got ready for their next engine burn, they quickly wrapped up the mini-tour. "It's just an unbelievable experience; it has been fantastic so far," Hopkins said. "I think I'm going to close it with all for one, Crew-1 for all."
You can watch SpaceX's Crew-1 flight for NASA live here, courtesy of NASA TV. Resilience is scheduled to dock at the International Space Station on Monday night at 11 p.m. EST (0400 GMT).
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace