SpaceX Dragon capsule successfully docks with ISS

SpaceX Dragon capsule successfully docks with ISS”

The Crew Dragon craft launching from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida bound for the International Space Station.

SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk: "SpaceX would not be here without NASA - without the incredible work that was done before SpaceX even started, and without the support after SpaceX did start". The test dummy was nicknamed Ripley after the main character in the "Alien" movies.

The white, bullet-shaped Dragon capsule, developed by Elon Musk's SpaceX company under contract to NASA, closed in on the orbiting station almost 260 miles above the Pacific Ocean and, flying autonomously, linked up on its own, without the help of the robotic arm normally used to guide spacecraft into position.

Only Russian Soyuz spacecraft have been used since 2011 to deliver cosmonauts, astronauts from the United States and other countries to the ISS.

Boeing aims to conduct the first test flight of its Starliner capsule in April, with astronauts on board possibly in August. Soyuz tickets have skyrocketed over the years; NASA now pays $82 million per seat.

SpaceX already has made 16 trips to the space station using cargo Dragons.

It can carry as many as seven people and has three windows, emergency-abort engines that can pull the capsule to safety, and streamlined controls, with just 30 buttons and touch screens, compared with the space shuttle cockpit's 2,000 switches and circuit breakers.

A picture tweeted by Musk on Saturday showed that Ripley was accompanied by a small plush Earth toy. "Just one more milestone that gets us ready for our flight coming up here".

The capsule is created to dock and undock automatically with the space station.

Reuters reported on February 21 that SpaceX and Boeing both must address significant design and safety concerns before they can fly humans. And, a new show that explores how we do, what we do ... a few of the stories to tell you about - This Week at NASA!

Flight operations team members - some of them new to this - also need the six-day trial run, according to Kennedy Space Center's director, Robert Cabana.

SpaceX aims to launch Behnken and Hurley as early as July.

At Saturday's post-launch news conference, Musk said he'd be happy to fly on the revamped Dragon. The SpaceX Dragon capsule will return to Earth on Friday.

The launch systems are aimed at ending US reliance on Russian rockets for rides to the $100 billion orbital research laboratory, which flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, at about $80 million per ticket.

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