SpaceX Dragon capsule successfully completes docking test with ISS

SpaceX Dragon capsule successfully completes docking test with ISS

"I thought maybe we'd have a 10 percent chance of reaching orbit starting out", Silicon Valley billionaire Musk said of his feelings when he founded the space company in 2002.

The capsule successfully separated from the rocket about 11 minutes later, sparking cheers in the control room, and began its journey to the space station.

After five days on the ISS, the Crew Dragon will return to Earth on March eight for an aquatic touchdown within the Atlantic Ocean.

A dummy named Ripley is onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket during liftoff Saturday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

However, things went according to SpaceX and NASA's plan, resulting in a successful docking of the capsule.

This mission was to demonstrate that astronauts can be sent off into space.

GREENE: First in over 40 years. This test flight without crew on board the spacecraft is meant to demonstrate SpaceX's capabilities to safely and reliably fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. This wasn't the first time SpaceX has docked with the ISS, however, it was the first without the robotic arm.

While Saturday's SpaceX test mission is a crucial step in the oft-delayed project, there are questions about whether NASA can achieve its 2019 flight goal of manned flight. To mitigate the costs, NASA opted to contract SpaceX and Boeing.

The switch from NASA owning spacecraft to paying private firms for a service was initiated under former president Barack Obama - but due to development delays, has come to fruition under US President Donald Trump. We've got to focus on getting this right, for sure. Great activity and success. "We're looking forward to being one of many customers in a robust commercial marketplace in low-Earth orbit", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

SpaceX tested their systems even as they prepared to dock, moving in close and then backing up again to prove their reliability. But it won't happen before 2023 at the earliest - with the rocket, far more powerful than that used for the Dragon mission, still in development.

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