SpaceX Capsule Settles With ISS- No Robotic Hand Needed

SpaceX Capsule Settles With ISS- No Robotic Hand Needed

SpaceX Capsule Settles With ISS- No Robotic Hand Needed

Soon after, the company of star entrepreneur Elon Musk hailed the successful arrival on Twitter as "a first for a commercially built and operated spacecraft designed for crew!"

SpaceX, a commercial company founded by Elon Musk, the entrepreneur behind the Tesla electric auto, launched its Crew Dragon spacecraft early yesterday, lifting off on the company's Falcon 9 rocket from Nasa's Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

Crew Dragon docked with the ISS on March 3 at 6:02 a.m. EST, becoming the first American spacecraft to autonomously dock with the orbiting laboratory.

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The capsule, also called Dragon or Dragon 2, approached the space station very gradually, carefully synchronizing its speed and trajectory.

The two will be joined by NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch for the launch aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan, NASA said. A joint venture between NASA and SpaceX, Crew Dragon is expected to be critical in launching commercial spaceships. After 11 minutes of launch, the vehicle separated from the rocket. The Crew Dragon capsule docked with the ISS on Sunday. SpaceX named the dummy Replay, a reference to the famous protagonist of the Alien movie franchise. Everything went pretty much perfectly, and now it's clear that SpaceX is in the lead and ahead of competitor Boeing in the race to provide NASA with the means to send astronauts into space whenever it wants.

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

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If the spacecraft's descent proceeds in a normal regime, it will travel to the orbital outpost with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on its board in July.

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.

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