SpaceX spacecraft docks with International Space Station on historic NASA mission

Yolanda Curtis
June 1, 2020

It will take 19 hours for the astronauts to reach the International Space Station. Hurley and Behnken had named their capsule "Endeavour" after the retired Space Shuttle on which they both flew.

The mission "historic" because this is the first-ever time that a private spacecraft company - Space X - used its own rocket to put humans into space.

Musk's comments came a few hours after SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the center's historic Launch Complex 39A, carrying a Crew Dragon spacecraft with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board.

"Welcome to Bob and Doug", said Bridenstine. NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 mission was underway.

It's a burgeoning, new era in spaceflight.

Crew Dragon will perform a series of phasing maneuvers to gradually approach and autonomously dock with the International Space Station on Sunday, May 31, at approximately 10:29 a.m. EDT.

Ever since shuttering its space shuttle program in 2011, NASA has relied on Russian Federation and its Soyuz spacecraft to ferry American astronauts to and from the ISS - a service that hasn't come cheap what with each seat costing roughly $US80 ($120) million. They were joined by more than 3 million viewers online, according to NASA's count, and more spectators who lined beaches and roads nearby to witness the launch.

"I'm so proud of the people at NASA, all the people that worked together, public and private".

During their trip to the ISS, Hurley and Behnken tested the vehicle's control and life support systems.

President Donald Trump, who was at the Kennedy Space Center, said it was "beautiful". The uncrewed test flight, called Demo-2, is also the first crewed launch from the United States since the space shuttle program ended in 2011. Now, the space station, Crew Dragon, and its occupants are all orbiting Earth at around 17,150 miles per hour. Upon splashdown off Florida's Atlantic coast, the crew will be picked up by the SpaceX recovery ship and returned to the dock at Cape Canaveral.

US-Russia cooperation is not expected to end once Crew Dragon goes into service.

Until last week, NASA had had to rely on Russian technology - along with its state space agency Roscosmos - to put USA astronauts into space following the termination of the space shuttle programme in 2011.

"The crew of Expedition 63 is honoured to welcome the Dragon and the Commercial Crew Programme".

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