SpaceX’s Dragon Crew Aces ISS Docking Test

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NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine: "What today really represents is a new era in spaceflight - an era where we are looking forward to being one customer as an agency and as a country, in a robust commercial marketplace in low-Earth orbit".

CNN noted that the profitable docking process was a primary for SpaceX, which has already run Dragon 1 capsule cargo missions to the ISS however beforehand relied on the station's robotic arm to seize that craft and manually drag it to the docking port.

Early on Friday, Musk, who is also chief executive officer of electric carmaker Tesla Inc, tweeted a photo of the inside of Crew Dragon capsule with Ripley strapped inside. The Crew Dragon docking went smooth, allaying safety concerns. The SLS will use four of the engines to launch astronauts aboard our Orion spacecraft on missions to the Moon and beyond.

As the Dragon capsule approached the ISS its nose cap, which is shaped in the form of a dragon maw, began to open to release the docking mechanism.

GREENE: First in over 40 years.

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NASA says Expedition 58 capped off its busy weekend with additional outfitting for the SpaceX Crew Dragon, which had only completed its hard dock to the International Space Station Sunday morning as part of the Demo-1 uncrewed flight test. It was the first time a spacecraft has docked with the adapter since it was installed in August 2016.

Transporting people is a more complex task, requiring seats, a pressurized cabin with breathable air, temperature regulation and emergency escape systems.

While Saturday's SpaceX test mission is a crucial step in the oft-delayed project, there are questions about whether NASA can achieve its 2019 flight goal of manned flight. In SpaceX's case, NASA has agreed to pay $2.6 billion for six round trips to the ISS. Great activity and success.

"We should have a base on the moon, like a permanently occupied human base on the moon, and then send people to Mars", Musk said during a press briefing. But it won't happen before 2023 at the earliest - with the rocket, far more powerful than that used for the Dragon mission, still in development.

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