SpaceX's new crew capsule aces space station docking

Elon Musk & NASA want to send civilians to the space station

Elon Musk & NASA want to send civilians to the space station

(Malcolm Denemark/Florida Today via AP) NASA astronaut Eric Boe, assistant to the chief of the astronaut office for commercial crew, left, and Norm Knight, deputy director of flight operations at NASA's Johnson Space Center watch the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft on the Demo-1 mission from firing room four of the Launch Control Center, Saturday, March 2, 2019 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This test flight without crew on board the spacecraft is meant to demonstrate SpaceX's capabilities to safely and reliably fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. Yesterday the ISS crew opened the hatch between the space station and the Crew Dragon spacecraft for the first time. 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! Meanwhile, Boeing, our other partner developing spacecraft to launch American astronauts from American soil, is targeting the launch of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft's uncrewed Orbital Flight Test, for no earlier than April. The three astronauts of Expedition 58 - cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, American astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques - also entered Crew Dragon, which can carry up to seven astronauts.

A dummy named Ripley is onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket during liftoff Saturday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Musk continues and says "And I think it'd be pretty cool if people went to space station on an American vehicle as well".

In this photo provided by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured about 20 meters (66 feet) away from the International Spac.

Watching on the ground was astronaut Bob Behnken, who has been chosen, along with Doug Hurley, to make the first crewed ride in the Dragon when it gets its certification.

Successful docking for SpaceX Dragon capsule
It docked autonomously under the station astronauts' watchful eyes, instead of relying on the station's robot arm for berthing. Bridenstine said it's only a matter of time before astronauts are being carried into space aboard Dragons or Starliners.

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

"Just super excited to see it", Behnken said minutes after the link-up. Crew Dragon is set to remain in orbit attached to the ISS until early Friday morning. "Just one more milestone that gets us ready for our flight coming up here". He marvels at how the Dragon has just 30 buttons and touch screens, compared with the space shuttle cockpit's 2,000 switches and circuit breakers.

This marks the first time SpaceX has ever docked with ISS under its own power. The version designed for humans is slightly bigger and safer.

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