SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule successfully docks with International Space Station
Washington : In a major achievement for SpaceX, Crew Dragon Capsule successfully docked on the International Space Station (ISS), passing the demonstration test before it starts transporting astronauts into space.
On Sunday, the docking of the capsule, which has only a dummy on board, concluded at 1051 GMT, nearly 250 miles (400 kilometres) over the surface of the Earth, NASA, and SpaceX confirmed during a live broadcast of the mission.
Apparently, after two hours of docking, three crew members - American Anne McClain, Canadian David Saint-Jacques and Russian Oleg Kononenko - at the ISS opened the hatch of the space capsule.
There they found the dummy, Ripley, strapped to a seat, and an untethered plush toy in the form of the blue planet, which SpaceX had jokingly placed there as a "super high-tech zero-g indicator."
"Welcome to the new era in spaceflight," McClain said from inside Dragon.
Saint-Jacques tweeted about the experience monitoring Crew Dragon's "first-ever approach and docking" to the space station, hailing it as "the dawn of a new era in human spaceflight!"
NASA chief Jim Bridenstine tweeted his congratulations on "this historic achievement," which brings the United States a big step closer to its goal of again flying astronauts into space on American rockets.
Since 2011, NASA had been relying on Russia to send its astronauts in the space.
Crew Dragon Capsule had taken off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, it took 27 hours to complete its docking journey to International Space Station. Dragon will detach itself from the space station next Friday and splash down in the Atlantic Ocean, its descent slowed by four parachutes.