SpaceX Capsule Lands Successfully At ISS

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Saint-Jacques tweeted about the experience monitoring Crew Dragon's "first-ever approach and docking" to the space station, hailing it as "the dawn of a new era in human spaceflight!"

NASA hopes to certify SpaceX to fly crewed missions to ISS before the end of the year. The test dummy - or Smarty as SpaceX likes to call it, given all the instrumentation - is named Ripley after the lead character in the science-fiction "Alien" films.

This latest, flashiest Dragon reached the space station on Sunday morning, just 27 hours after liftoff.

After five days on the ISS, the Crew Dragon will return to Earth on March eight for an aquatic touchdown within the Atlantic Ocean. Boeing is looking to launch its Starliner capsule without a crew as early as April and with a crew possibly in August.

Founded by billionaire Elon Musk, SpaceX has made the trip to the ISS a dozen times since 2012, but only to bring cargo to the station.

Since 2011, the United States was not able to put a human into the orbit due to the retirement of shuttles; they had to take help from Russian Soyuz vehicles to transport astronauts to International Space Station.

Elon Musk & NASA want to send civilians to the space station
SpaceX Crew Dragon docks with ISS, astronauts climb aboard

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. "Just one more milestone that gets us ready for our flight coming up here".

Capsule docked with International Space Station on Sunday at 5:51 AM ET on International docking Adapter.

Ripley and the capsule are rigged with sensors to measure noise, vibration, and stresses and monitor the life-support, propulsion, and other critical systems.

Flight operations team members - some of them new to this - also need the six-day trial run, according to Kennedy Space Center's director, Robert Cabana.

But Musk has admitted that marketing travel in the Dragon capsule is not a priority - and he is more interested in distant exploration of the solar system. 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!

The objective is to make the next demo flight, with Hurley and Behnken, as safe as possible. Approximately 11 minutes after a successful launch, the Crew Dragon spacecraft separated from the rocket's upper stage.

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