A Space Force Guardian is finally going to space for the first time ever. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-9 mission will have Nick Hague as the pilot launching the team to space aboard the Dragon Spacecraft. NASA’s latest mission will send the team to the International Space Station in August of this year. Learn more about the astronaut accomplishing this grand feat.
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Nick Hague, Astronaut and Space Force Officer
Tyler N. Hague, who is known as Nick Hague, is married to Catie Hague, a retired Colonel of the U.S. Air Force. He has been a NASA astronaut since 2013, and has a bachelor’s degree in astronautical engineering from the US Air Force Academy.
Nick Hague later went on to earn a master’s degree in astronautical engineering from MIT in 2000. He has received a number of awards which you can see in an in depth list here.
He took his first trip to the international space station in 2018. Nick completed another trip that was 203 days during 2020-2022. He completed a rotation with the US Space Force and later returned to NASA to work on the Boeing Starliner Program in August of 2022.
What Is a Space Force Guardian?
A Space Force Guardian helps operate a number of things including: GPS satellites, navigation systems, and launch range calculations. Additionally, heightened spatial awareness is necessary to help avoid orbital debris from colliding with the space station.
Hague has said, “Being a part of this mission is a unique honor, but its truly a collective effort.” He continued on to say, “Guardians worldwide ensure safe and secure operations of critical systems. They provide critical support without which our NASA human spaceflight program wouldn’t be possible.”
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The SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Is Transporting Nick Hague and Others
The Dragon spacecraft takes cargo into space, as well as the crew. The Dragon spacecraft has visited the International Space Station 39 times. Furthermore, it has had 44 launches in total, and has room for 7 passengers. Since 2011, there have been no American vehicles capable of transporting astronauts to and from space. This was until 2020, when the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft successfully completed the mission.
Describing the operation of the Dragon spacecraft, SpaceX states, “The Dragon spacecraft is equipped with 16 Draco thrusters used to orient the spacecraft during the mission, including apogee/perigee maneuvers, orbit adjustments and attitude control. Each Draco thruster is capable of generating 90 pounds of force in the vacuum of space.”
Aside from the amazing engine, the spacecraft has two parachutes that help to stabilize the aircraft while it is propelling into space.
Not only does the Dragon carry passengers, but it is currently the only spacecraft in use that can carry significant amounts of cargo back to Earth. We’re wishing Nick Hague and crew good luck, and hope for a successful space mission. And, a special congratulations to Nick on being the first Guardian Officer to head into space.