Science

Meet ‘Endurance’: the new SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule gets a name

SpaceX’s newest Crew Dragon capsule has a name.

The vehicle is called “Endurance,” announced today (October 7) NASA astronaut Raja Chari. Chari is the commander of SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission, which is scheduled to launch for the International Space Station aboard the Endurance on October 30.

As Endurance’s first crew, Chari, NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency were honored to hang a name on the spacecraft, which was previously known simply as “Capsule 210.” And “Endurance” works on multiple levels, Chari said.

In photos: SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station

For starters, the name is “a tribute to the tenacity of the human spirit, as we push humans and machines further than we have ever done,” Chari said in a short announcement video that NASA posted today on Twitter. .

It is also “a nod to the fact that development teams, production teams [and] the training teams that brought us here have endured a pandemic, “Chari added.” And then of course just the fact that we are going to repurpose this vehicle. So one of the really cool things about the SpaceX Dragon is that we will be the first to use Endurance, but it won’t be the last time we use it. ”

Endurance will be the third Crew Dragon vehicle to take people into orbit. The Endeavor capsule flew SpaceX’s first manned mission, the Demo-2 test flight to the space station in 2020, as well as Crew-2, which arrived at the orbital lab in April and is scheduled to conclude next month.

Resilience brought the Crew-1 mission to the station, which ended in May this year, and Inspiration4, the first fully private mission to Earth orbit. Inspiration4 took billionaire tech entrepreneur Jared Isaacman and three crewmates on a three-day free-flight trip to orbit last month.

Like Chari and her crew, the Crew-1 astronauts mentioned the coronavirus pandemic as a factor in choosing the name “Resilience.”

Crew-3 astronauts will spend about six months aboard the International Space Station. His will be the third operational mission that SpaceX flies under a contract signed with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program in 2014. Boeing signed a similar agreement at the same time, but its CST-100 Starliner capsule has yet to deliver astronauts to orbit. .

Mike Wall is the author of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

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