Space X Crew Capsule Reaches Space Station

04 March, 2019, 04:56 | Author: Sidney Guerrero
  • SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule

Dragon crew capsules will splashdown in the Atlantic not far from Kennedy.

With a successful orbit insertion, Crew Dragon is slated rendezvous with the ISS in the early-morning hours of March 3. The US space shuttle program ended in 2011, and NASA has paid Russian Federation about $80 million per seat to send American astronauts to space aboard Soyuz rockets. It is expected to reach the ISS later on Sunday.

The booster carrying the uncrewed Dragon lifted off at 1:49 a.m. CST from historic Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center.

Keeping its options open, the USA space agency in 2014 awarded contracts to both SpaceX and Boeing for them to take over this task.

A concern over Dragon's docking abort procedures was raised by the Russian space agency Roscosmos, one of NASA's global partners in the ISS program. The view from cameras inside the Crew Dragon showed the station's docking port at the center of the display, the same view approaching astronauts will have later this year.

Kirk Shireman, manager of Nasa's International Space Station programme, said: "You'll hear us talk about this being a flight test; it absolutely is. We've got to dock to the space station and come back".

Why it matters: For almost a decade, NASA has been reliant on Russian rockets to put their astronauts into orbit.

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After its stay, the Dragon capsule will undock from the station, return to Earth and splash down in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast. The astronauts wore oxygen masks and hoods until getting the all-clear. "This first launch of a space system designed for humans, and built and operated by a commercial company through a public-private partnership, is a revolutionary step on our path to get humans to the Moon, Mars and beyond".

SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, its first spacecraft created to carry humans, took flight for the first time Saturday.

"Just super excited to see it", Behnken said minutes after the link-up.

SpaceX, founded by billionaire Elon Musk, has made the trip to the ISS a dozen times before since 2012, but only to refuel the station. While cargo Dragon spacecraft have been pulled in for their berthing with the station's robotic arm, the Crew Dragon is built to guide itself autonomously to its hookup. The capsule's nose cap was wide open like a dragon's mouth, to expose the docking mechanism. The capsule will deliver its payload of supplies and remain in place until March 8.

There was, however, no crew aboard the spacecraft, just a test dummy named Ripley, in a nod to the lead character in the Alien movies.

Transporting people is a more complex task, requiring seats, a pressurized cabin with breathable air, temperature regulation and emergency escape systems.

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

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