SpaceX's Crew Dragon Successfully Docks At International Space Station

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The docking began at 1051 GMT, more than 248 miles (400 kilometers) above the Earth's surface, north of New Zealand - and 27 hours after the capsule's launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

It was the first time humans have entered a Crew Dragon while in space and the first time anything has passed through that hatch since the Space Shuttle Atlantis docked to the ISS' forward end in 2011.

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

The Crew Dragon spacecraft unmanned test flight launched early Saturday morning.

SpaceX rocket launches towards the International Space Station

Ten minutes after a picture ideal launch, the SpaceX rocket's first stage successfully touched down on a recovery ship 300 miles off the Florida coast.

This time around, the only occupant on board SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule was a dummy named Ripley - but NASA plans to put two astronauts aboard in July, although that date could be delayed.

BRIDENSTINE: Elon Musk made a decision to name the mannequin Ripley after the character in the movie "Alien".

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.

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As the capsule closed in on the space station, its nose cap was wide open like a dragon's mouth to expose the docking mechanism.

Through next Friday, the Crew Dragon must meet a series of milestones. It was also the first time that the space station tested the global docking adapter that was installed in 2016.

ISS astronauts will be watching closely to see that the capsule behaves as it should.

NASA's associate administrator for human exploration Bill Gerstenmaier said using a private company for astronaut launches would not compromise on standards.

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Currently, America relies on Russian Federation to launch astronauts to the space station.

The Dragon vehicle, launched by California's SpaceX company on Saturday, is created to make the attachment autonomously.

"I fully expect we're going to learn something on this flight", said Bill Gerstenmaier, Nasa's head of human spaceflight. The Starliner is now due to make its first uncrewed test flight no earlier than April, and its first crewed flight no earlier than August. America's newest capsule for astronauts rocketed toward the International Space Station on a high-stakes test flight by SpaceX.

Reuters reported on February 21 that SpaceX and Boeing both must address significant design and safety concerns before they can fly humans.

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As the spacecraft approached the space station, it demonstrated its automated control and maneuvering capabilities by arriving in place at about 492 feet (150 meters) away from the orbital laboratory then reversing course and backing away from the station to 590 feet (180 meters) before the final docking sequence from about 65 feet (20 meters) away.