SpaceX’s new crew capsule completes space station docking

SpaceX’s new crew capsule completes space station docking

SpaceX’s new crew capsule completes space station docking

By then, the Crew Dragon was already orbiting earth at five miles per second and headed for a docking with the global space station Sunday morning.

In this photo provided by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured just beside the International Space Station.

The successful voyage of SpaceX's unmanned Crew Dragon to the International Space Station this weekend put the USA one tantalizing step closer to the day when American rockets will again ferry the nation's astronauts into space.

SpaceX employees at company headquarters in Hawthorne, California, cheered and applauded as crew Dragon pulled up and docked at the orbiting lab, almost 260 miles above the Pacific, north of New Zealand.

After the launch, the rocket booster descended and recovered on the drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You" stationed more than 300 miles off the east coast of the U.S. The capsule will spend five days connected to the ISS, during which astronauts David St. Jacques and Anne McClain will run tests and inspect it.

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The capsule successfully separated from the rocket about 11 minutes later, sparking cheers in the control room, and began its journey to the space station. "Congratulations to all for this historic achievement getting us closer to flying American Astronauts on American rockets".

The capsule is expected to reach the International Space Station and dock with it autonomously for the first time.

Nasa is also working with Boeing on crew transport.

SpaceX's 16-foot-tall (4.9 meters) Crew Dragon capsule, atop a Falcon 9 rocket, lifted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center at 2:49 a.m. (0749 GMT), carrying a test dummy nicknamed Ripley.

There was, however, no crew aboard the spacecraft, just a test dummy named Ripley, in a nod to the lead character in the Alien movies. Engineers will be carefully watching sound, vibration and other stresses on the spacecraft, while monitoring the life-support, communication and propulsion systems. Within hours, the capsule's hatch swung open and the three astronauts floated inside to remove supplies and take air samples, wearing oxygen masks and hoods until they got the all-clear.

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Dragon will remain at the space station until Friday, when it will undock for an old-school, "Right Stuff"-style splashdown in the Atlantic, a few hundred miles off Florida".

The Dragon vehicle, launched by California's SpaceX company on Saturday, is created to make the attachment autonomously.

Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, who will be the first human crew on the Dragon, sent commands from their base in California to position the vehicle before it made its final approach to the ISS.

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