SpaceX's Crew Dragon Capsule Docks With ISS

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After taking off around 2:50 a.m. EST on Saturday, the capsule docked just before 6 a.m. Sunday, about 27 hours after liftoff. On March 3rd, the Dragon autonomously docked with the ISS, not requiring the aid of the station's robotic arm. All the things went just about completely, and now it's clear that SpaceX is within the lead and forward of competitor Boeing within the race to offer NASA with the means to ship astronauts into area each time it needs. NASA has worked with SpaceX and Boeing in developing the Commercial Crew Program spacecraft to facilitate new human spaceflight systems launching from USA soil with the goal of safe, reliable and cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit destinations, such as the space station. Astronauts have been stuck riding Russian rockets ever since NASA's space shuttle program ended in 2011. Splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean is set for 8:45 am, Friday, March 8. It was SpaceX's 35th successful landing of a rocket booster since its program began.

Since 2011, the U.S. 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.

Even last week, two days before launch, Russian Federation still had safety concerns with the docking procedure, deputy ISS program manager Joel Montalbano said in a pre-launch briefing last week.

SpaceX team in Hawthorne Calif. March 3 2019

No humans were aboard but the craft did carry a dummy nicknamed Ripley, named after the character played by Sigourney Weaver in the Alien films. The rocket was the first American-made spacecraft capable of carrying humans to dock with the ISS. Docking Adapter will act like parking spots for further capsules going into the Earth's orbit.

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. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a demo Crew Dragon spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station lif. (AP Photo/John Raoux) Elon Musk, left, CEO of SpaceX, speaks as NASA astronauts Bob Behnken, center, and Doug Hurley, right, listen during a news conference after the SpaceX Falcon 9 Demo-1 launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Saturday, March 2, 2019. "To be frank, I am a little emotionally exhausted because it was super stressful".

The switch from NASA owning spacecraft to paying private firms for a service was initiated under former president Barack Obama - but due to development delays, has come to fruition under US President Donald Trump.

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