Sunday, 26 May, 2019

ISS crew officially welcomes SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule

Crew Dragon Capsule Crew Dragon Capsule successfully docked to ISS
Sandra Phillips | 08 March, 2019, 10:54

After a successful launch, the Crew Dragon was delivered to a good orbit for its Sunday approach to the International Space Station. The company's Crew Dragon spacecraft headed to space atop one of its own Falcon 9 rockets early Saturday morning in the first true test of the crew module that will soon ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. (NASA via AP) In this photo provided by SpaceX, the SpaceX team in Hawthorne, Calif., watches as the SpaceX Crew Dragon docks with the International Space Station's Harmony module, Sunday, March 3, 2019.

The historic event saw the three astronauts of Expedition 58 aboard the ISS "welcome" Ripley, the smart dummy packed with sensors that were the only occupant aboard Crew Dragon. A while later, both astronauts as well as ISS commander Oleg Kononenko boarded the capsule and had a look around.

"It should be fine, but that'll be a thing to make sure it works on re-entry, " Musk said " Everything we know so far is looking positive". We went to the moon and we won.

Boeing, which is working on the much-hyped Starliner crewed spacecraft, has yet to send it into space and perform any kind of preliminary uncrewed test flight to the space station. The SpaceX Crew Dragon's trip to the International Space Station is created to validate end-to-end systems and capabilities, leading to certification to fly crew. The spacecraft is expected to undock on March 8 and splash down in the Atlantic Ocean after its descent by the parachute.

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The Crew Dragon craft took off Saturday morning from the Launch Complex 39-A. He marvels at how the Dragon has just 30 buttons and touch screens, compared with the space shuttle cockpit's 2,000 switches and circuit breakers. The other seats were empty, save for a small plush toy resembling Earth that was free to float upon reaching zero-gravity. The version designed for humans is slightly bigger and safer. "What today really represents is a new era in spaceflight".

"We're going to learn a ton from this mission", said NASA's commercial crew program manager, Kathy Lueders.

SpaceX aims to launch Behnken and Hurley as early as July. The crew also installed window covers and checked vales inside the capsule before the official welcoming ceremony.

Musk anticipates eventually selling Dragon rides to private citizens, much as the Russians have done, first to the space station and then perhaps beyond.

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