“If you look at the definition of resilience, that means functioning well in times of stress or overcoming challenging or stressful events. And I think that all of us agree that 2020 has certainly been a challenging year — a global pandemic, economic hardships, civil unrest, isolation,” NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, who will serve as spacecraft commander for the mission, said during a press event Tuesday.
He added that the name was chosen to honor the the SpaceX and NASA teams who worked through the Covid-19 pandemic to prepare the spacecraft for their mission. “And, quite frankly, it’s in honor of our families, of our colleagues, of our fellow citizens, of our international partners and our leaders that have all shown that same quality, those same characteristics,” Hopkins said.
The crew for the upcoming missions also includes NASA astronauts Shannon Walker and Victor Glover, who will become the first Black person to serve as a full-time crew member on the two-decade-old International Space Station, and Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut with Japan’s JAXA space agency and veteran of NASA Space Shuttle and Russian Soyuz missions.
The four-person team is expected to launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2:40 am ET on October 31. It’ll be SpaceX’s second-ever crewed mission and the second to launch from the United States since NASA’s Space Shuttle program retired nine years ago.
Some on social media also criticized journalists and astronauts who spoke out about the broader issues, deeming it a distraction. Glover replied to one such criticism, saying, “Remember who is doing space. People are,” he wrote, adding “we will understand and overcome racism and bigotry so we can safely and together do space.”
But the earthly problems, of course, have not disappeared, Glover noted in an interview with CNN Business’ Rachel Crane on Tuesday.
“I am not immune to the things going on in the world right now — from the physical insecurity that many people are feeling to the economic insecurity,” he said. “I will say this: The overriding feeling that I have is that I want to go up there and do my job well and then come back and tell a great story about a great mission and a great team so that people have something to look up to and look forward to.”
“It is not just a connection for the four of us,” he said. “We feel like it is a connection with all of you, to everybody. We hope that it brings a smile to your face and we hope that it provides something positive to your life.”