Moment, the International Space Station glides over the surface of the Moon just six hours after the historic arrival of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule with two NASA astronauts
- Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley arrived on ISS on Sunday at 3.16pm BST
- Italian photographer Alberto Panizza was ready to capture their moon pass
- The pair will remain in space for one to three months before returning to Earth
Just six hours after two NASA astronauts docked on their historic mission, the International Space Station was captured orbiting the moon.
Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 8:22 p.m. BST (3.22 p.m. ET) in a SpaceX rocket on Saturday.
After circling the Earth and appearing as a tiny dot in the air over Britain, they arrived on the ISS for a hero welcome the next day at 3.16pm BST (10.16am ET).
While circling the three-quarter crescent moon six hours later, Italian photographer Alberto Ghizzi Panizza had set up his cameras in Parma to capture Earth’s historic moment.
The SpaceX flight was the first time a private company placed astronauts in space, and the first manned space flight to leave American soil in nine years.
Italian photographer Alberto Ghizzi Panizza captured the ISS with the two NASA astronauts on board as it passed the moon during its three-quarter waxing moon stage
The astronauts are expected to stay on the ISS for one to four months before returning home
The Crew Dragon spacecraft is shown here when it reached the ISS on May 31
The photographer captured the eight-second pass as several individual photos, before stitching them together to show the ISS at 17 different points on his journey.
“It was a very emotional moment,” he said. “Not just for me, but for all of humanity.”
Images of the historic arrival seem to show that astronaut Hurley bangs his head as he enters the ISS.
The pair was ready to take over manual control of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, but the trajectory was so well calculated that it could slip into the ISS docking station without assistance.
“It was a real honor to be a small part of this nine-year endeavor since the last time a spaceship from the United States docked on the ISS,” said Hurley.
The Italian photographer photographed the eight-second pass. It is shown here as a composite image, each combined to reveal the movement of the ISS
Bob Behnken imagined entering the ISS moment after docking. He is greeted by astronauts
SpaceX delivered Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the ISS on Sunday morning
Elon Musk, who founded SpaceX, said, “I think this is something that should really get people in the heart – anyone who has a spirit of exploration.
“I’m really quite overwhelmed by emotion – it’s actually quite hard to talk. It has taken 18 years to achieve this goal. It is hard to believe it happened.
“This is a craft made by people, for people I think it’s something humanity should be proud of today.”
After takeoff, the British had been able to photograph the Crew Dragon as it passed through the British night sky moving east to west after 10pm on Saturdays.
Stargazers happily posted photos of their sightings on social media, showing the craft as a small bright spot just above the horizon.
Elon Musk said he was ‘overcome with emotion’ after the astronauts were launched into space in Kennedy Space Center’s Falcon 9 rocket
Astronauts are expected to remain on the ISS for one to four months, during which time they will conduct tests on the Crew Dragon and conduct further research.
They are then loaded back into the craft before returning to Earth, splashing off the Atlantic coast of Florida, where they are retrieved by SpaceX’s Go Navigator recovery ship.
The mission, known as Demo-2, is the final test before NASA certifies the Crew Dragon for long-term operational missions to the space station.
Explained: The $ 100B INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION IS 250 MILES OVER EARTH
The International Space Station (ISS) is a $ 100 billion (£ 80 billion) science and engineering laboratory orbiting 400 kilometers above Earth.
It has been permanently manned by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000.
Research aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions in low Earth orbit, such as low gravity or oxygen.
ISS studies have conducted research in human research, space medicine, life sciences, natural sciences, astronomy and meteorology.
The U.S. space agency NASA spends approximately $ 3 billion (£ 2.4 billion) annually on the space station program, a funding level endorsed by the Trump administration and Congress.
A U.S. committee of the United States House of Representatives overseeing NASA has begun to consider extending the program beyond 2024.
Alternatively, the money could be used to accelerate planned human space initiatives to the Moon and Mars.