SpaceX rocket with unmanned USA capsule arrives at Worldwide Area Station

Gwen Vasquez
March 8, 2019

SpaceX's 16-foot-tall (4.9 meter) 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. (NASA via AP) In this photo provided by SpaceX, the SpaceX team in Hawthorne, Calif., watches as the SpaceX Crew Dragon docks with the International Space Station's Harmony module, Sunday, March 3, 2019.

At the same time, the astronauts now on board the ISS kept a close watch to make sure the Crew Dragon performed as expected - U.S astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jaques were the ones in charge of commanding the Crew Dragon to hold, retreat to abort the mission altogether, if anything went wrong. A while later, both astronauts as well as ISS commander Oleg Kononenko boarded the capsule and had a look around. The scientists took readings from the inside of the Crew Dragon, and have been outfitted with respiration aids to make sure they wouldn't be in any hazard if the environment contained in the capsule wasn't good. We went to the moon and we won.

Russian Federation and the United States will continue cooperation in manned and resupply space programs after the launch of the US Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS), spokesman for Russia's State Space Corporation Roscosmos Vladimir Ustimenko told TASS on Monday, Trend reports referring to TASS. The Crew Dragon docking went smooth, allaying safety concerns. A test dummy fitted with several instruments occupied one of the four seats. At 10:51 UTC (05:51 EST), a full nine minutes ahead of schedule, the spacecraft successfully docked with the worldwide docking adaptor at the forward end of the Harmony module.

Like Ripley, the capsule is rigged with sensors to measure noise, vibration and stresses, and to monitor the life-support, propulsion and other critical systems throughout the flight. Some of the equipment needs more work - possibly even redesign - before serving human passengers.

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"Welcome to the new era in spaceflight", McClain said from inside Dragon.

"I think that's something that we'll do, and NASA's very supportive of that". TV cameras on Dragon as well as the station provided stunning views of one another throughout the rendezvous.

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

Expedition 58 crew members enter the SpaceX Crew Dragon for the first time.

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