Dragon capsule heads for space station

SpaceX UNMANNED Crew Dragon V2 launched - Falcon 9 rocket leaves Kennedy Space Center | Daily Star

Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 for Demo-1, the first flight test of the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft, was a success Saturday morning from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

It's slightly bigger - 27 feet (8 meters) tall - and also launches atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX's live stream starts from 12am on March 1 and cycles through preparation stages and launch before the capsule goes into orbit.

NASA stopped its Space Shuttle programme eight years ago. In fact, NASA astronauts could be traveling on board in a Crew Dragon trial flight as early as July this year.

If it is able to dock successfully, the spacecraft would remain attached to the station for five days.

This is the phase of the mission that SpaceX founder Elon Musk says worries him the most - the fiery, high-speed descent through the atmosphere.

Reuters reported on February 21 that SpaceX and Boeing both must address significant design and safety concerns before they can fly humans.

It's carrying a dummy named: "Ripley" after Sigourney Weaver's character in the "Alien" Franchise.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a demo Crew Dragon spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station lifts off.

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Boeing is now scheduled to follow SpaceX's flight with an uncrewed test launch of its Starliner spacecraft as early as next month.

If the test goes to plan, it will be approved to carry people.

It pays Russian Federation to get its people up to the orbiting research facility at a cost of $82 million a head, for a round trip.

The space agency said in a statement last month that it has "confidence" the companies will be ready in 2019 and said the additional Soyuz contracts are meant to provide "flexibility and back-up" options. But he stressed it was more important to move deliberately so "we get it right".

NASA's Commercial Crew Program is working with Boeing and SpaceX to design, build, test and operate safe, reliable and cost-effective human transportation systems to low-Earth orbit. But now there are four seats, three windows, computer touch screens and life-support systems.

If successful, the mission launched on Saturday and the upcoming manned launch will allow NASA to certify the new spacecraft for regular flights to the space station. Cargo Dragon must be maneuvered with the station's robot arm.

Looking even farther out, "maybe there's something beyond space station", he said.

The Dragon vehicle, launched by California's SpaceX company on Saturday, is created to make the attachment autonomously.

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