A few minutes later, the crew of three Americans and one Japanese astronaut emerged from the capsule and boarded the station, greeting the existing crew of one US astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts with hugs and high-fives.
Now Baby Yoda has made his way back home among the stars as he travels on one of the most historic space missions to take place in quite some time.
The flight marks only the second crewed flight for Crew Dragon, which became the first commercial vehicle to put humans in orbit when astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken launched in May.
"SpaceX, this is Resilience".
The commercially developed SpaceX Crew Dragon ship carrying a group of astronauts, including Japan's Soichi Noguchi, successfully docked with the International Space Station on Monday following its liftoff from NASA's space center a day earlier.
"Thank you for letting me get to say hello to you all", said NASA chief of human spaceflight programs Kathy Leuders, in a video message beamed up to the astronauts. "We can't wait to have you on board". Top, from left to right: NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryxhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.
"The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelled the Crew Dragon spacecraft with NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [JAXA], into orbit to begin a six-month science mission aboard the space station". They broadcast a tour of their capsule Monday, showing off the touchscreen controls, storage areas and their zero gravity indicator: a small plush Baby Yoda.
Seeing Baby Yoda in space is not surprising, but the little guy is usually accompanied by his Mandalorian partner-caretaker - not earthling astronauts.
They will remain at the orbiting lab until their replacements arrive on another Dragon in April. The rotation will continue until Boeing joins the programme with its own spacecraft late next year.
SpaceX confirmed it was on course to reach the space station 27 hours later, at about 4am today in Ireland.
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