Science

Dragon capsule successfully separates from rocket: SpaceX

Dragon capsule successfully separates from rocket: SpaceX”

No humans were aboard but the craft did carry a dummy nicknamed Ripley, named after the character played by Sigourney Weaver in the Alien films.

March 2, 2019 A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the company's Dragon spacecraft, lifts off an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

"SpaceX and NASA teams are working side-by-side on this mission from start to finish as we have throughout this process".

This week, NASA and SpaceX revealed that Crew Dragon had met all the requirements and been cleared for its test flight to the International Space Station this weekend. It will remain docked until Friday, when it will disengage and head for a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean 230 miles east of Cape Canaveral.

Despite SpaceX's success at recovering and reusing its rockets, NASA is insisting on brand new boosters from SpaceX for the crew capsule flights.

NASA has been relying on Russian help to get to the space lab since it shuttered its shuttle fleet in 2011. SpaceX has been developing Crew Dragon under a $2.6 billion NASA commercial-crew contract, which the agency awarded in 2014.

The mission aims to test the vessel's reliability and safety in real-life conditions.

Nasa chief Jim Bridenstine said it was a new era where "we are looking forward to be being one customer, as an agency and as a country". Soyuz tickets have skyrocketed over the years; NASA now pays $82 million per seat.

All this particular mission is carrying is a test dummy and 90kg of supplies.

The launch of the new astronaut capsule on a week-long round trip to ISS is seen as a key step towards resuming manned space flights from U.S. soil after an eight-year break.

"The next big leap in a new chapter of USA human spaceflight systems has left the pad", NASA wrote on Twitter.

Reuters reported on February 21 that SpaceX and Boeing both must address significant design and safety concerns before they can fly humans. No private company has ever launched humans into orbit, and during a webcast of the launch, SpaceX employees could be seen packed into the main foyer of the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., cheering each milestone.

Although the contact appeared slow, the ISS and the capsule were moving at a speed of over 27,000 kilometers per hour in orbit around the Earth.

"We're going to learn a ton from this mission", said Kathy Lueders, the manager of Nasa's Commercial Crew programme.

About 5,000 NASA and contractor employees, tourists and journalists gathered Saturday to watch the launch.

"Early on, our goal was human spaceflight", he said.

Its Falcon 9 rockets have resupplied the space station 15 times in seven years, even though one of them blew up in 2015.



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