SpaceX Docked Its ‘Crew Dragon’ Capsule with the Space Station This Weekend

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Crew Dragon Capsule was a dress rehearsal for the NASA's Commercial Crew Program to send astronauts into space.

The only passenger was a life-size test dummy, named Ripley after the lead character in the "Alien" movies. The Crew Dragon then successfully docked with the ISS using automatic systems.

The Crew Dragon will stay docked to the ISS until Friday and in all that time, the ISS crew members will unpack over 400 pounds of cargo the capsule carried with it and perform a series of tests.

Elon Musk who set up the space giant company SpaceX told reports, "It has been 17 years to get to this point, from 2002 to now".

Both companies are working with NASA to help bring launches of American astronauts back to the United States.

The launch and subsequent docking with the ISS mark the first steps to the return of the U.S.to the frontlines of space exploration for the first time since the retirement of the space shuttles.

SpaceX has to be pretty pleased with how Crew Dragon and the Falcon 9 rocket performed these past few days.

After that, it will detach and return to Earth, in the final phase of the mission which SpaceX founder Elon Musk has admitted he is most anxious about. "Congratulations to all for this historic achievement getting us closer to flying American Astronauts on American rockets". Russian Soyuz seats go for up to $82 million apiece.

SpaceX team in Hawthorne Calif. March 3 2019
Elon Musk & NASA want to send civilians to the space station

Next up, though, is Boeing, which is looking to launch its Starliner capsule without a crew as early as April and with a crew possibly in August. Musk continues and says "And I think it'd be pretty cool if people went to space station on an American vehicle as well". But he stressed there's no rush.

The weekend was a big one for space fans and enthusiasts in the US. "That race is over".

Like Ripley, the capsule is rigged with sensors.

"Welcome to the new era in spaceflight", he said.

SpaceX aims to launch Behnken and Hurley as early as July. TV cameras on Dragon as well as the station provided stunning views of one another throughout the rendezvous.

"Seeing a success like this definitely gives us a lot of confidence in the future", Behnken said.

At the post-launch press conference on Saturday, he reiterated his dream for a permanent Moon base - and sending people to Mars. The crew also installed window covers and checked vales inside the capsule before the official welcoming ceremony. The first-stage booster used Saturday landed on a floating platform in the Atlantic, following liftoff. This photo provided by SpaceX shows a life-size test dummy along with a toy that is floating in the Dragon capsule as the cap.

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