SpaceX’s Crew Dragon carrying Koichi Wakata, other astronauts, arrives on ISS

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Koichi Wakata, right, greets astronauts on the International Space Station at about 7:50 a.m. JST on Friday in this screen grab from NASA TV footage.

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station at about 5 p.m. on Thursday (0600 JST Friday), carrying four crew members including Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Wakata, 59, and his crewmates from the United States and Russia will stay on the ISS for about six months, conducting experiments and other tasks in preparation for a planned moon mission.

After the completion of air pressure adjustments and other necessary steps, the hatch of the Crew Dragon opened and the arrivals alighted from the spacecraft to a warm welcome from the astronauts aboard the ISS.

“It’s great to be back in zero G. This is like coming back to a home away from home for me,” Wakata said at the welcome ceremony. “I’d like to thank everyone who supports the International Space Station program.”

The SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket topped with the Crew Dragon capsule lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday at noon (2300 JST).