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Space & Astronomy

Crew Dragon launches on first flight to ISS

By T.K. Randall
March 2, 2019 · Comment icon 9 comments



An artist's impression of the spacecraft arriving at the ISS. Image Credit: NASA / SpaceX
The unmanned test flight brings NASA one step closer to being able to launch its own crewed missions again.
It has been a long time coming, but now at last it seems as though America's reliance on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to launch astronauts to the International Space Station is finally coming to an end.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft launched atop a Falon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2.49am this morning on a groundbreaking test flight that will see it dock with the orbiting outpost as a demonstration of its readiness to carry astronauts.

For this initial flight, the only passenger is a spacesuit-clad test dummy named Ripley.
"This is really a significant achievement in the history of American space flight," said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.

"We want to make sure we keep our partnership with Russia, which has been very strong for a long period of time, going back to the Apollo Soyuz era, but we also want to make sure we have our own capability to get back and forth to the International Space Station, so that we can have this strong partnership where they can launch on our rockets and we can launch on their rockets."

The Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock with the ISS at 6:05am on Sunday morning.

It will return to Earth around five days later.



Source: The Guardian | Comments (9)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Jon the frog 4 years ago
Don't know if getting the pretty look is efficient or not, but their craft are pleasing to the eye.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Seti42 4 years ago
Beauty is often a side effect of efficiency. Look at super cars, jet fighters, people with athletic bodies and symmetrical faces, basically all of nature... Of course, beautiful things can be beautiful for just aesthetic reasons, like jewelry, art, etc. but there is always a certain beauty in the form of excellent function. At least, IMO.
Comment icon #3 Posted by OverSword 4 years ago
Itís possible that naming the test dummy Ripley wasnít the best idea.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Still Waters 4 years ago
Latest: †
Comment icon #5 Posted by Derek Willis 4 years ago
Am I missing something here? Space-X have launched a capsule that has docked with the ISS. What is so special about that? Fifty years ago - yes, half a century ago - the Apollo astronauts were preparing to land on the Moon. Yet the media have gone†overboard with Space-X. When Space-X does something special - like sending people to Mars - then the company will deserve to be hailed as innovators.
Comment icon #6 Posted by esoteric_toad 4 years ago
At least they are doing something. As a life long resident of the Space Coast it has been a sad, sad decline when it comes to manned launches. I have made it a habit to avoid many of the main-stream media's "news" outlets but locally they have barely mentioned it, which I find odd. We finally can launch our own astronauts instead of relying on Russia.† I too would like to see some great leaps, forget Mars though, too dangerous, expensive and at this point not worth the risk. If an attempt was made, and failed, it would only set any space program back a LONG time. Hopefully we'll concentrate on... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Derek Willis 4 years ago
I'm not criticizing Space-X. I am criticizing the media for portraying the mission as a†major technical achievement. It is great that the US will soon be able to launch astronauts from your own soil again, with the Dragon capsule and†with the Orion capsule. I agree a†return to the Moon is what is needed. As someone who can remember the Apollo missions I find it bizarre it has taken half a century to even think about going to the Moon again.††
Comment icon #8 Posted by esoteric_toad 4 years ago
Absolutely agree regarding the moon. Mars had been focused on way to much. I'm a bit cynical about peoples backing of any space program at all. Most are not focused on anything beyond their lifetime to truly start on target for super long term progress in space exploration.† I think, unfortunately, no one really pays attention anyway. At least SpaceX is actually doing things and at a pace that I find rather impressive. I can actually imagine they'll be getting back to the Moon and beyond before NASA will.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Peter B 4 years ago
In a number of ways it is a major technical achievement. It's the first American crew-capable spacecraft with the ability to abort anywhere from the launch pad to orbital insertion since Apollo (Shuttle had no abort capacity on the pad or while the SRBs were firing). It's the first ever American crew-capable spacecraft with the ability to autonomously dock with another spacecraft (previous manned spacecraft had to be piloted to dock, and the Cargo Dragons used in CRS missions to the International Space Station are berthed with the ISS by the crew using the robot arm). It's the first American c... [More]


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