SpaceX Crew Dragon Lands Crucial Station Docking

08 March, 2019, 10:42 | Author: Amos Gonzales
  • SpaceX rocket launches towards the International Space Station

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon crew capsule are scheduled to lift off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center at 02:49 EST Saturday (07:49 GMT).

Rocketed into orbit early Saturday, the capsule carried a test dummy named Ripley - after the heroine from the "Alien" movies - and 400 pounds (about 181 kg) of supplies and experiments to the ISS, including bulk overwrap bags containing more than 1,000 food and drink packages for the crew.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon (and Boeing's similar Starliner capsule) present an alternative, having been developed under NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

The Crew Dragon capsule, designated Demo-1, was able to successfully dock with the International Space Station at roughly 3:00 a.m. ET. For SpaceX, which Musk founded in 2002, sending an astronaut into orbit would be a culmination of years of hard work and high-risk investment."Every mission is important, but this is even more important, said Koenigsmann, the firm's vice-president for build and flight reliability".

Ripley and the capsule are rigged with sensors to measure noise, vibration and stresses and monitor the life-support, propulsion and other critical systems. SpaceX employees at company headquarters in Hawthorne, California, cheered the docking, then burst into applause again when the Dragon's latches were secured.

With permission to enter the Keep Out Sphere (KOS), Dragon approached to within 150 meters of the docking port, where the station's crew will test a retreat command.

NASA selected SpaceX and Boeing to design and build crew-carrying spacecraft to shepherd astronauts to and from the space station - replacements for the Space Shuttle, which NASA retired in 2011.

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It just first disconnect and undock from the space station, re-enter the Earth's atmosphere, and lastly, splash back down off the Florida coast. "It's different", said Mark Geyer, director of the Johnson Space Center, where U.S. astronauts are based.

"Welcome to the new era in space flight", McClain said from inside the capsule, framed by Ripley and Little Earth.

In a statement Saturday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine congratulated SpaceX and NASA "for this major milestone in our nation's history".

Once they determined that the air inside the Crew Dragon was safe, they swung the door open and allowed it to mix with the air inside the space station.

"I fully expect we're going to learn something on this flight", said Bill Gerstenmaier, Nasa's head of human spaceflight. Currently, the space agency and its astronauts rely on Russian rockets and crew capsules to ferry Americans to and from ISS - an agreement with Roscosmos that ends in early 2020. The Crew Dragon was designed with an emergency escape system that can carry people out to safety if something goes wrong.

While working to unload some of the cargo beneath the seats inside the Crew Dragon, Saint-Jacques gave the "zero-g indicator" a bump that sent it tumbling around the inside of the spacecraft.

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