Milestone: Capsule with dummy aboard docks at space station

SpaceX founder Elon Musk shares a laugh with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley center and Bob Behnken in the launch control room at Kennedy Space Center Friday night

On Saturday, the Crew Dragon capsule was launched for the first time.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump praised the historic launch of Demo-1, a critical step for NASA and SpaceX to demonstrate the ability to safely fly missions with NASA astronauts to the orbital laboratory.

Flight computers guided the craft directly into a docking port, unlike previous cargo Dragon spacecrafts that have been attached to the space station after capture by a robotic arm.

"We're on the precipice of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil again for the first time since the retirement of the space shuttles in 2011".

The Crew Dragon used the station's new worldwide docking adapter for the first time since astronauts installed it during a spacewalk in August 2016, following its delivery to the station in the trunk of a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on its ninth commercial resupply services mission.

The entire procedure was light on showmanship compared to SpaceX's last major flight test, when the company launched a red Tesla into space on its Falcon Heavy rocket. After opening its nose cone for navigational purposes, Dragon is now spending about 24 hours performing a series of phasing maneuvers to bring it toward the International Space Station, where it will dock at around 6am ET Sunday.

In this photo provided by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured just beside the International Space Station.

Currently, America relies on Russian Federation to launch astronauts to the space station. The successful maneuver was also greeted with cheers from the Hawthorne, Calif., headquarters of Elon Musk's ambitious space company. The test dummy - or Smarty as SpaceX likes to call it, given all the instrumentation - is named Ripley after the lead character in the science-fiction "Alien" films.

The only way astronauts can get to space are via Russian rockets, yet the cost of using them has steeply risen over the years. After remaining in this position for approximately 10 minutes, Dragon will be cleared to proceed to 20 meters for another brief hold, followed by docking to the ISS.

"SpaceX and NASA teams are working side-by-side on this mission from start to finish as we have throughout this process".

"Welcome to the new era in spaceflight", he said.

During the rendezvous, Dragon went through numerous milestones, first coming into view at around 3,000 meters out, before approaching towards the Approach Elipsode and arrive at Waypoint 0. In the meantime, NASA is paying two companies - SpaceX and Boeing - to build and operate America's next generation of rocket ships. Boeing is looking to launch its Starliner capsule without a crew as early as April and with a crew possibly in August.



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