SpaceX Successfully Launches Crew Dragon With Test Dummy

SpaceX Successfully Launches Crew Dragon With Test Dummy

The docking took place more than 400km above the Earth's surface, north of New Zealand - 27 hours after the capsule's launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The dummy that will ride in the capsule - which SpaceX's Hans Koenigsmann prefers to call a "smartie" - has been nicknamed Ripley in honor of the character played by Sigourney Weaver in the "Alien" movies.

A veteran of two spaceflights, Garrett Reisman left NASA in 2011 to play a senior role in the development of the Crew Dragon spacecraft at SpaceX until a year ago.

NASA and SpaceX confirmed on Sunday that SpaceX's new Dragon capsule had successfully docked with the International Space Station, Trend reported citing Sputnik.

JIM BRIDENSTINE: 2019 is the year we launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil for the first time since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.

SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk was on hand for the launching.

Like Ripley, the capsule is rigged with sensors to measure noise, vibration and stresses, and to monitor the life-support, propulsion and other critical systems throughout the flight.

The first and second stages separated without incident, placing Dragon in Earth's orbit 11 minutes after take-off.

SpaceX Dragon Crew Capsule Approach
Source NASA via YouTube

Ever since Nasa retired the space shuttle in 2011, the United States has been hitching rides to and from the space station aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

"Welcome to the new era in space flight", McClain said from inside the capsule, framed by Ripley and Little Earth. Getting those spacecraft flying would mark the restoration of a US crew-launching capability that was lost when the space shuttle fleet was retired in 2011.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon, as its name implies, is created to carry human crew along with around 220 lbs of cargo.

SpaceX, using a Falcon 9 rocket, successfully launched a space capsule bound for the International Space Station.

It would be the first time for a private company to send people to the space station. In a docking with a crew aboard, the capsule would likewise operate autonomously, though the astronauts might push a button or two and would be able to intervene if necessary. When certified to be finally safe for humans, the Crew Dragon has the capacity to carry at most four crew members.

"I fully expect we're going to learn something on this flight", said Bill Gerstenmaier, Nasa's head of human spaceflight.

Saint-Jacques and Kononenko were the first to enter the Crew Dragon after opening the hatch. Coincidentally, that adapter was delivered by a non-Crew SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

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