CLOSINGS: View Closings

It's a full house on the International Space Station with 7 people — and Baby Yoda

For the first time, seven crew members -- and Baby Yoda -- are living on the International Space Station for an extended stay of six months.After laun...

Posted: Nov 20, 2020 6:55 AM

For the first time, seven crew members -- and Baby Yoda -- are living on the International Space Station for an extended stay of six months.

After launching on Sunday, NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover Jr., Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut with Japan's space agency, were welcomed aboard the space station early Tuesday by NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.

And perhaps no one is more excited than Glover. It's the astronaut's first trip to space -- and by all accounts, he hasn't stopped smiling since he arrived.

Glover is the first full-time Black crew member on the space station.

"When the engine cut off and we were in orbit, it was surreal," Glover said in a news conference from the space station Thursday. "I've seen a ton of pictures, but when I first looked out the window at Earth, I had no words. It was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime feeling."

The rest of his crew has been just as excited. When they hit zero gravity, his crew turned to Glover and said, "We're in space!"

And as Glover came through the hatch, Rubins rushed to greet him and threw her hands out. "Oh my, God, you're here!" she shouted gleefully.

Floating for an extended period of time is new to Glover. Previously, he's experienced a few seconds of floating as a Navy test pilot. "But floating for an extended period is truly amazing," he said. "My brain is constantly trying to figure out which way is up. It's an interesting challenge, one I find slightly amusing. I'm writing notes so I can look back on this later."

Glover said he's experienced a wealth of emotions. Approaching the space station inspired awe and happiness, but he's also eager to get to work and contribute.

An advocate for social justice and protecting the planet, Glover said this journey to the space station has strengthened his resolve.

"I believe that what I've said and what I've tried to work for is just what's right. To be honest and upfront with people, and then to work for what's right." he said. "And I think that doing the right thing is always in order. So looking at the planet from this perspective -- to see the Earth and these beautiful land masses and oceans without lines or words drawn on them -- it just heightens an awareness that the planet needs protection, and human life needs protection, and we are the ones who have to protect it."

"I hope this (mission) inspires people to literally and figuratively look up, especially as 2020 comes to a close."

Crowded quarters

It's getting a little crowded on the orbiting laboratory, but in a good way.

"It's busy in a great way," Rubins said. "There is energy up here and people zooming by. There is so much going on at the space station. And we'll be able to accomplish a huge amount of research. The amount of scientific output from this mission will be incredible."

Rubins sounded relieved. Astronauts also spend a significant portion of their time performing space station maintenance, in addition to running hundreds of science experiments.

The crew estimates it will take them a few weeks to adjust to having five people on the US side of the space station.

"There have been some traffic jams through modules going from place to place," Walker said.

"We need to figure out how five people work around here without running into each other," Hopkins added.

The crew has been busy since coming through the hatch early Tuesday morning. Once they get settled, the crew will jump into dividing up the wealth of experiments currently on the station and prepare for more that will launch on December 2.

"Science investigators have been waiting a long time for this moment," Hopkins said. "We're going to see just how much science can come out of this space station."

Sleeping in a spaceship

Hopkins is going to have an unusual sleeping arrangement compared to the rest of his colleagues. While their crew quarters are on the space station, Hopkins will be staying in the Resilience capsule, docked with the space station.

The crew has spent the last two days moving cargo out of it so he can move in.

Hopkins served as the commander of the SpaceX Crew vehicle for launch.

During the Shuttle era, it was tradition for the commander of the shuttle ferrying components and supplies to the space station to sleep on the shuttle, Hopkins said, so "it just felt right" for him to continue the custom.

And the slightly cooler temperatures of the vehicle suit him just fine.

However, Hopkins is wary of protecting the spacecraft since it's their ride home in six months.

"One of the things I'm conscious about as I spend time in there is I don't want to do anything to damage it as I go in and out," Hopkins said. "I may be using that as my bedroom, but it's also what will get us home."

Hopkins said he will likely spend less time in the craft than he would if he had his own crew quarters on the space station.

Baby Yoda's wild ride

While the mission is a historic first among the partnership for NASA and SpaceX and the agency's Commercial Crew program, some of the thunder has been stolen by none other than Baby Yoda.

Viewers tuning in to watch the launch Sunday night noticed Baby Yoda spinning through the cabin of the Resilience spacecraft. The toy served as a zero gravity indicator. It's a long-standing tradition of spaceflight where each crew selects a toy to ride along for the launch. When the toy begins to float in the cabin, the crew knows they've reached space.

The Crew-1 astronauts decided on Baby Yoda after watching "The Mandalorian" series.

"It's hard not to like Baby Yoda," Hopkins said. "It ties in with the name of our spacecraft, Resilience. It's been a tough year. The fact that NASA and SpaceX could get us ready to go throughout this year and the pandemic, we were inspired by everyone's resilience."

Hopkins talked about the inspiration factor of spaceflight, especially during a year like 2020.

"Baby Yoda does the same thing, he puts a smile on everyone's face," Hopkins said. "It seemed appropriate for our crew as well. We like to have a lot of fun and we have. Although I think the ride into space was a little rougher than what Baby Yoda is used to, compared to what he rides normally."

That said, if you've seen the latest episodes of "The Mandalorian," Din Djarin (played by Pedro Pascal) and his Razor Crest spacecraft aren't exactly known for gently cruising through the galaxy far, far away.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 333626

Reported Deaths: 3843
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin700691145
Ramsey29459521
Dakota23564198
Anoka23541236
Washington14864125
Stearns14564125
St. Louis9549121
Scott896460
Wright847548
Olmsted714637
Sherburne618746
Clay529960
Carver509715
Kandiyohi440828
Rice432338
Blue Earth431217
Crow Wing383339
Otter Tail338925
Chisago334516
Benton322753
Nobles316032
Winona297832
Douglas283040
Mower274823
Polk271527
Morrison246731
McLeod233721
Lyon232812
Beltrami230718
Goodhue222932
Becker221521
Steele21038
Itasca206324
Isanti203917
Carlton201417
Todd190314
Nicollet172126
Mille Lacs164632
Freeborn16227
Le Sueur157012
Brown156115
Cass153511
Pine14498
Meeker144812
Waseca143411
Roseau13035
Martin124721
Hubbard119729
Wabasha11301
Redwood104620
Chippewa9808
Renville95530
Cottonwood9454
Dodge9311
Watonwan8944
Wadena8637
Sibley8404
Rock8249
Houston8004
Aitkin79930
Fillmore7690
Pipestone76518
Pennington7058
Yellow Medicine69612
Kanabec68614
Swift63610
Murray6124
Faribault6093
Pope5721
Clearwater55410
Marshall5459
Stevens5403
Jackson5321
Lake4518
Koochiching4216
Wilkin4175
Lac qui Parle4124
Lincoln3811
Unassigned38159
Norman3718
Big Stone3392
Mahnomen3225
Grant2986
Kittson2518
Red Lake2303
Traverse1531
Lake of the Woods1071
Cook800

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 237371

Reported Deaths: 2571
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk34873347
Linn14787169
Scott1184692
Black Hawk11288147
Woodbury10763137
Johnson985939
Dubuque947999
Story701924
Pottawattamie682474
Dallas661260
Sioux383829
Webster378339
Cerro Gordo373252
Marshall360950
Clinton345645
Buena Vista316614
Muscatine305172
Des Moines300623
Warren294115
Plymouth287044
Wapello265072
Jones237118
Jasper231546
Lee228719
Marion211922
Carroll204325
Bremer202713
Henry19367
Crawford183116
Benton175423
Tama157442
Jackson151117
Washington150216
Delaware147621
Dickinson145812
Boone144912
Mahaska133928
Wright13107
Clay12505
Buchanan123410
Hardin122812
Hamilton119514
Page11925
Kossuth11768
Clayton115510
Cedar114614
Harrison113432
Floyd111921
Mills11129
Calhoun10987
Fayette109812
Lyon10769
Butler10748
Winneshiek105513
Poweshiek103714
Iowa101414
Cherokee9674
Winnebago96325
Chickasaw9195
Hancock9138
Sac9068
Louisa90122
Grundy89514
Allamakee88413
Cass84725
Union8437
Mitchell8429
Appanoose81613
Humboldt8125
Shelby80511
Emmet79026
Guthrie78315
Franklin76421
Jefferson7635
Madison7265
Unassigned7090
Palo Alto6744
Keokuk6567
Pocahontas6024
Howard5859
Ida54915
Osceola5461
Greene5422
Montgomery51411
Clarke5064
Davis4839
Taylor4833
Monona4567
Adair4539
Monroe45113
Worth3881
Fremont3823
Van Buren3815
Decatur3410
Lucas3416
Audubon3112
Wayne3087
Ringgold2432
Adams1812
Rochester
Clear
29° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 23°
Mason City
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 23°
Albert Lea
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 27°
Austin
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 28°
Charles City
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 23°
A Quiet Weekend Ahead
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events