SpaceX’s ISS Astronauts Have Just Achieved a New Record
Four astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have just broken a long-standing American record for most days in space that a crew spent aboard a US spacecraft.
NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and the Japanese Soichi Noguchi came to the ISS on November 16, 2020 on board the SpaceX “Resilience” Crew Dragon spacecraft.
Their stay on the orbiting outpost – with Crew Dragon docked on the space station’s Harmony module – has now lasted more than 84 days, surpassing the previous record of an Apollo spacecraft crew, the one on February 8, 1974 at the now decommissioned Skylab satellite arrived .
The Skylab 4 crew, made up of Gerald Carr, Edward Gibson and William Pogue, docked their Apollo spacecraft with the Skylab space station 47 years before the day the resilience crew docked in the orbit lab, as NASA wrote in an article their website noted.
To celebrate the new record, the four Crew 1 astronauts took time to chat with Edward Gibson, the last surviving member of the Skylab 4 mission.
On our 84th day in space, Crew-1 extended the record for the most days in space for a US space capsule. Originally hired in 1973-74 by the Skylab 4 crew of Gerald Carr, Edward Gibson and William Pogue. Today we had the honor of speaking to Ed. pic.twitter.com/4olxP1CPFv
– Victor Glover (@AstroVicGlover) February 7, 2021
The record has existed for more than four decades for a number of reasons. First, the space shuttle, which followed the Apollo program and operated from 1981 to 2011, only stayed in orbit for a short time, with its longest mission – STS-80 in November 1996 – lasting just 17.5 days. And second, when the space shuttle program ended, it took America’s only means of getting astronauts into space, forcing it to rely on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. It was only with the arrival of the SpaceX-manned missions, the first of which took place in 2020, that the US was able to take off and land astronauts again from their own territory.
The current record will continue to be extended until the four astronauts of Crew 1 return to Resilience on April 18, 2021.
Over the years, of course, astronauts have spent much longer periods of time in space during a single trip. The record is currently held by Russian Valery Polyakov, who spent almost 438 consecutive days on board the Mir space station from 1994 to 1995. The longest time an American astronaut has ever spent in space is 340 days, which Scott Kelly achieved on board the ISS in 2015-16, while NASA astronaut Christina Koch set the record for the longest time a woman was in Has spent in space and reached 328 days on board the ISS in 2019/20. All three astronauts used Russian spaceships for the round trip to the orbiting outpost.