SpaceX Just Made History With the Launch of Its Crew Dragon Spacecraft

SpaceX Just Made History With the Launch of Its Crew Dragon Spacecraft

SpaceX Just Made History With the Launch of Its Crew Dragon Spacecraft

A SpaceX rocket with a newly designed unmanned crew capsule has successfully blasted off from a launch pad in the U.S. state of Florida bound for the International Space Station.

The mission is a test launch with only a dummy on board the capsule ahead of a manned flight scheduled for later this year.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen as it is rolled out of the horizontal integration facility at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-1 mission at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, February 28, 2019. The mission is incredibly important for both SpaceX and NASA, but you're going to have to get up pretty darn early in the morning to see it take off.

The historic launch, which was celebrated with cheers and applause at Kennedy Space Center, comes after multiple delays pushed the maiden flight back from an expected launch in 2018. On Sunday morning, Crew Dragon will rendezvous with the International Space Station and execute a docking maneuver.

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

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Keeping its options open, the United States space agency in 2014 awarded contracts to both SpaceX and Boeing for them to take over this task.

That capsule called the CST-100 Starliner is set to launch in April without a crew and again with a crew in August. NASA now pays $82 million per seat. Today, SpaceX launched a new Crew Dragon capsule to demonstrate their readiness for manned spaceflight.

Why it matters: For almost a decade, NASA has been reliant on Russian rockets to put their astronauts into orbit.

NASA did not want to rely on just one single vehicle, in case of accidents.

Ripley is equipped with sensors to measure the impact on future passengers of another SpaceX capsule. The capsule will then spend five days docked to the orbiting outpost and then return to Earth on Friday, landing in the Atlantic.

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Under a contract with NASA, SpaceX developed Crew Dragon on the basis of Dragon cargo ship, which flies to the ISS since 2012.

"We are ready to learn by flying".

In less than a decade, SpaceX has become a key partner for NASA, in addition to dominating the market for private satellite launches.

Now NASA said it is on the verge of recapturing some of the national pride that has been a hallmark of its human spaceflight program since the beginning of the Space Age.

The only way astronauts can get to space are via Russian rockets, yet the cost of using them has steeply risen over the years.

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