SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts name Dragon capsule 'Resilience'

The next astronauts who will launch on a SpaceX capsule to the International Space Station looked to the present, rather than the past or the future, to select the name for their spacecraft.

NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins, commander of SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission to the space station, joined his three crewmates in revealing their ship’s call sign during a NASA press briefing held on Tuesday (Sept. 29).

“We’re excited about the opportunity to name our vehicle,” Hopkins said, speaking on behalf of he fellow Crew-1 astronauts, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “The Crew-1 Dragon capsule, no. 207, will henceforth be known by the call sign ‘Resilience.'”

The name, explained Hopkins, reflected the challenges that the current year has put forth, not just for his crew or the teams at SpaceX and NASA, but for the entire country and the world.

“If you look up the definition of the word ‘resilience,’ it means functioning well in times of stress or overcoming adverse events. I think all of us can agree that 2020 has certainly been a challenging year, [with] a global pandemic, economic hardships, social unrest [and] isolation,” he said. “Despite all of that, SpaceX and NASA have kept the production line open and finished this amazing vehicle that is getting ready to go on its maiden flight to the International Space Station.”

“So the name ‘Resilience’ is really in honor of the SpaceX and NASA teams, and, quite frankly, it is in honor of our families, our colleagues, our fellow citizens, our international partners and our leaders, who have shown that same quality, those same characteristics all through these difficult times,” Hopkins said.

Assigned to the second crewed launch of a SpaceX Dragon capsule, the Crew-1 astronauts will be the first to fly on a NASA-certified, commercially run operational mission, following the Demo-2 test flight that splashed down in August. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were the first to name their spacecraft — “Endeavour,” after the space shuttle on which they both flew their first missions — but they waited until they had made it safely into orbit to reveal their choice.

The Crew-1 mission is targeted to launch at 2:40 a.m. EDT (0640 GMT) on Oct. 31, 20 years to the day after the launch of the first crew to take up residency aboard the International Space Station. The Resilience will lift off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on a trajectory to reach the orbiting laboratory the next day.

Before arriving at Resilience, Hopkins and his crewmates filled a whiteboard with a long list of “good ideas” for their spacecraft’s name and then narrowed down their choices, he said.

“We wanted to make sure that the name fit,” Hopkins said in an interview with collectSPACE, following Tuesday’s press conference. “We got it down to two or three names, and they were all very close in terms of that we liked them and could have been really happy with them, [but] at the end of the day, it was the one that just felt right.”

“I liken it a little bit to when my youngest son was born. My wife and I had two names picked out and it wasn’t until we saw Lucas that we knew that was the name. It just fit,” he said. “And I think ‘Resilience,’ in this case, it fit the vehicle, it fit where we are right now in this country, and I really hope it can be an inspiration for everybody for what is possible when we work together.”

The same message, he said, is reflected in the symbolism of the Crew-1 mission patch. The emblem, which features the Crew Dragon spacecraft set against an illustration of a mythical dragon’s head and the icons representing the past and present of U.S. spaceflight programs, omits the crew’s names and country flags.

“That patch, it doesn’t just represent the four of us, but it really represents the countless people who have contributed to getting the vehicle ready and getting us ready for this mission,” Hopkins told reporters. “That same theme applies to the name of this vehicle, ‘Resilience.'”

“It is not just a connection for the four of us,” he said. “We really feel it is a connection to all of you, to everybody. We hope it brings a smile to your face. We hope it provides something positive in your lives, and quite frankly, we hope it is an inspiration that shows when you work together, there is no limit to what you can achieve.”

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