The mission is significant for a number of reasons: not least because it is a rare piece of exciting, uplifting news in what has been a hard year for so many of us and also because it is the first of a series of taxi flights conducted for NASA by a private company namely SpaceX, which is owned by the Tesla-founder Elon Musk.
This is a landmark mission for NASA and the company because it is the first fully operational crewed mission for SpaceX, following up a test mission in May that carried NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, both test pilots, to the space station. In the future, instead of relying on government-operated spacecraft, Nasa astronauts and anyone else with enough money can buy a ticket on a commercial rocket. Along with SpaceX, the aerospace giant Boeing is working with Nasa to expand the market and start a new era of human spaceflight under a public-private partnership model where Nasa contracts out routine flights to the space station to private companies.
Docking with the orbiting platform, opening the hatch roughly 2 1/2 hours later and participating in a brief welcome ceremony will be shown stating about 11 p.m. during an ongoing NASA-TV broadcast of the mission.
We are turning our eye to the skies above us more specifically to 400 km above Planet Earth, where a 27-hour voyage to the International Space Station is due to come to an end soon.
The crew consists of three NASA astronauts - U.S. Air Force Col. Mike Hopkins, the mission commander, U.S. Navy Cmdr. This is the first global crew to launch aboard an American commercial spacecraft. The fourth passenger is Soichi Noguchi, a member of Japan's JAXA space agency.
That's why back in 2014, NASA tasked SpaceX with creating a vehicle that could make the trip to the ISS every six months-an idea that on paper would slash costs and increase efficiency. He flew to the International Space Station on a Soyuz spacecraft for a stay in 2013.
SpaceX's launch on Sunday was the first of six operational missions for NASA. Boeing is also designing its own private space capsules, the first of which is being called the CST-100 Starliner.