March 24, 2019

SpaceX rocket launches towards the International Space Station

06 March 2019, 01:49 | Edward Lowe

Dragon roars: SpaceX's first crew test flight goes well so far

SpaceX rocket launches towards the International Space Station

Once at the ISS, Ripley will remain in the cargo hold while astronauts on board the space station check the capsule.

The unmanned test flight is meant to demonstrate SpaceX's ability to safely and reliably carry astronauts to and from the ISS. Once they determined that the air inside the Crew Dragon was safe, they swung the door open and allowed it to mix with the air inside the space station.

Early this morning, a spacecraft called Crew Dragon docked at the International Space Station.

That the docking procedure went without error is not only a sigh of relief for NASA's Commercial Crew Program-the project to replace the retired Space Shuttle that is years behind schedule-but excellent news for the three astronauts now residing on the station.

NASA published a series of photos showing the arrival of SpaceX's Crew Dragon reusable spacecraft to the International Space Station.

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The Crew Dragon is created to stay docked to station for up to 210 days, although the spacecraft used for this flight test will remain docked to the space station only five days, departing Friday, March 8. The capsule's nose cap was wide open like a dragon's mouth, to expose the docking mechanism.

There was a chance that the Crew Dragon, which Russian space operators warned did not have a backup docking system, would fail to successfully attach to the station. SpaceX's new crew capsule arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday, acing its second milestone in just over a day.

Enlarge / SpaceX founder Elon Musk shares a laugh with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley, center, and Bob Behnken, in the launch control room at Kennedy Space Center Friday night.

Following the retirement of American shuttles, NASA paid companies such as SpaceX and Boeing about $8 billion to build and operate crew capsules to carry astronauts to and from the space station.

This test dummy, nicknamed Ripley after the Sigourney Weaver character in the Alien movies, will be covered in sensors.

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There is not a live stream available for the Crew Dragon docking from SpaceX itself.

Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. Soyuz tickets have skyrocketed over the years; NASA now pays $82 million per seat.

"I know you heard the applause and all the clapping that went along with the accomplishment today and so it's just one more milestone that gets us ready for our flight coming up here". But the program has suffered delays as safety requirements are much more stringent for manned flights than for unmanned missions to deploy satellites.

Next up, though, is Boeing, which is looking to launch its Starliner capsule without a crew as early as April and with a crew possibly in August.

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