Three NASA astronauts and their fellow crew member from the Japanese Space Agency boarded the International Space Station early Tuesday following a historic flight in a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.
The crew lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on Sunday in the first operational SpaceX Crew Dragon launch, marking an important milestone for the space program. Crew-1 follows a successful Demo-2 mission earlier this year and is the first crew rotation flight on a U.S. commercial spacecraft.
Crew Dragon, which was named Resilience by the Crew-1 astronauts, docked with the International Space Station at 11.01 p.m. ET Monday.
NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi were welcomed aboard by NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.
“The hatches are open and NASA's @SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts Shannon Walker, @Astro_Soichi, @AstroVicGlover, and @Astro_illini are the newest residents aboard the @Space_Station,” tweeted NASA early Tuesday. “Welcome aboard!”
The Crew-1 astronauts and Rubins will conduct a range of scientific research during the six-month mission.
Earlier this year the Demo-2 mission marked the first time that astronauts have launched from American soil since the final Space Shuttle flight in 2011.
After the end of the Space Shuttle program, the U.S. relied on Russian Soyuz rockets launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to get astronauts into space. Russia charges the U.S. about $75 million to send an astronaut into space, and the Associated Press reports that the last Soyuz ticket cost America $90 million.
Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia, Kristin Fisher, Lauren Blanchard, David Clark, Erin McEwan and the Associated Press contributed to this article.