SpaceX launches rocket carrying new Dragon capsule

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Launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida this morning, The space-x crew dragon capsule will dock with the global space station Sunday.

SpaceX's 16-foot-tall (4.9 meter) Crew Dragon capsule, atop a Falcon 9 rocket, lifted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center at TK 2:49 a.m. (0749 GMT), carrying a test dummy nicknamed Ripley.

The SpaceX rocket launch marks the first time a commercially built spacecraft designed for human travel will dock with the International Space Station (ISS).

The historic launch, which was celebrated with cheers and applause at Kennedy Space Center, comes after multiple delays pushed the maiden flight back from an expected launch in 2018.

Despite SpaceX's success at recovering and reusing its rockets, NASA is insisting on brand new boosters from SpaceX for the crew capsule flights. If all goes well, the capsule design will undergo a few more reviews and safety checks, and it could be ready to fly two NASA astronauts to the space station in July, based on the space agency's current timeline.

It's been eight years since Hurley and three other astronauts flew the last space shuttle mission, and human launches from Florida ceased.

The Crew Dragon capsule is headed to the International Space Station (ISS) and if all goes to plan, it should dock there at 6 a.m. ET on Sunday. The SpaceX company employees cheered until the capsule reached orbit. Both Boeing and SpaceX are hoping to have a manned flight later this year.

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For the test, the Ripley dummy was strapped into the far left seat, wearing the company's snappy white spacesuit.

"People have gone to space station on Soyuz", he said this morning during a post-launch press conference here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, referring to the handful of private citizens who have flown aboard Russia's Soyuz spacecraft (and reportedly plunked down between $20 million and $40 million apiece to do so).

"Man, we were all working so hard to get to the start of flying this new vehicle-it was super exhilarating", he said.

He said: "That is something we have to practise in preparation for crewed flight to make sure we're fast in the right spots, and have all the potential medical attention at the right time".

"We want to make sure we keep our partnership with Russian Federation, which has been very strong for a long period of time", explained Bridenstine before the flight.

The Falcon rockets are famous for being self-landing and reusable, and once again the boosters managed to land themselves onto a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean. It's also the first American spaceship made for people to be launched into orbit since 2011. "That would be pretty cool, " he said.

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