Published: Mon, March 04, 2019
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

SpaceX Just Made History With the Launch of Its Crew Dragon Spacecraft

SpaceX Just Made History With the Launch of Its Crew Dragon Spacecraft

From blast-off at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday to contact Sunday, the flight took 27 hours.

CNN noted that the successful docking procedure was a first for SpaceX, which has already run Dragon 1 capsule cargo missions to the ISS but previously relied on the station's robotic arm to grab that craft and manually drag it to the docking port. Dragon will detach itself from the space station next Friday and splash down in the Atlantic Ocean, its descent slowed by 4 parachutes. Eastern that day, where SpaceX vessels will recover the spacecraft and return it to Cape Canaveral. The test run sought to demonstrate that the vehicle is reliable and safe, so that NASA can resume manned flights from United States soil this year. The US government is also eager to have the ability to fly to the ISS without buying seats on Russian Soyuz capsules.

The American space agency is essentially now contracting out crew transport to SpaceX.

The entire procedure was light on showmanship compared to SpaceX's last major flight test, when the company launched a red Tesla into space on its Falcon Heavy rocket.

"It's been a long eight years", said Bob Cabana, the Kennedy Space Center's director and a former astronaut.

If all goes well during the demo mission, the company will conduct a test on Crew Dragon's emergency abort systems in June.

It pays Russian Federation to get its people up to the ISS orbiting research facility at a cost of $82 million per head for a round trip.

But the program has suffered delays as safety requirements are much more stringent for manned flights than for unmanned missions to deploy satellites. "You guys think it's a good vehicle, right?" he asked Behnken and Hurley, seated alongside him. They anxious that if the uncrewed vehicle's computer malfunctioned, the Dragon might have crashed into the station - much as a Russian Progress cargo craft crashed into the Mir space station in 1997.

Boeing, meanwhile, continues work on a different type of space taxi known as the CST-100 Starliner.

All this particular mission is carrying is a test dummy and 90kg of supplies. It's gone through many iterations down the years and now has an extensive flight history.

In this photo provided by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured just beside the International Space Station.

"Liftoff!" SpaceX tweeted at 2:49 a.m. ET.

"We're going to learn a ton from this mission", said Kathy Lueders, the manager of Nasa's Commercial Crew programme.

Since 2017, NASA's official mission has been to return to the Moon - a project awarded $21.5 billion by Congress in the 2019 budget. "It's been 17 years to get to this point", Musk, who founded the aerospace company in 2002, said during a press conference following the launch.

"Welcome to the new era in spaceflight", he said.

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