Ripley, the SpaceX test dummy, is buckled in and ready for launch

04 March, 2019, 04:09 | Author: Sidney Guerrero
  • Weather Space plasmas Physical sciences Applied sciences Outer space Spaceflight English-language films Discovery and exploration of the Solar System Heliophysics Science Division Heliophysics NASA science

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule blasted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on schedule at 2:49 a.m. Saturday.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen after being raised into a vertical position on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A February 28, 2019.

In 2014, NASA tapped SpaceX (and rival Boeing as well) to fly astronauts to the station under the agency's Commercial Crew program, which aims to restore the ability to fly American astronauts into orbit from us soil. Currently, the space agency and its astronauts rely on Russian rockets and crew capsules to ferry Americans to and from ISS - an agreement with Roscosmos that ends in early 2020.

Crew Dragon rendezvous and docking coverage - 8.30am GMT (3.30am EST).

That would be a really big deal for the USA, as NASA retired its shuttles in 2011 and has since relied on the Russians to provide ISS ferrying services.

Crew Dragon, also known as Dragon 2, is a reusable spacecraft designed as a successor to the Dragon space freighter.

"I guarantee that not everything will work exactly right. We're preparing to once again launch American astronauts from American soil on American rockets", said NASA chief Jim Bridenstine. The older Dragon capsules have successfully completed 16 ISS missions.

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"It's exciting to see a crewed vehicle, the SpaceX Dragon, up there on a Falcon 9 on pad 39A", said Cabana, who witnessed the last space shuttle flight return to Cape Canaveral on July 21, 2011.

If the trip goes off without a hitch and all goes to plan with a subsequent emergency escape test, SpaceX will begin transporting astronauts to the ISS later this year. "But it's better to verify, make sure that it's safe and everything is comfortable for our astronauts going on the next flight of our capsule". The second stage's thrusters carried Crew Dragon into a proper orbital trajectory.

"I proudly congratulate the SpaceX and NASA teams for this major milestone in our nation's space history", he added. They will have the ability to act as a launch escape system in case the crew needs to abort before or after launch.

Boeing is also in the race to end NASA's eight-year drought of launching USA astronauts on US rockets from USA soil.

"This mission absolutely meets that standard with a creative and cost-effective mission to solve mysteries about Earth's upper atmosphere", said Hertz.

"Human spaceflight is basically the core mission of SpaceX", he said. The three space station astronauts will enter the Dragon, unload the fresh supplies on board and then fill it with science samples and old equipment.

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