New SpaceX astronaut capsule successfully launched on ISS test mission

The Dragon crew capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket at the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida

SpaceX celebrated the successful launch of its Crew Dragon capsule toward the International Space Station early on Saturday as a prelude to the resumption of manned US space flights, possibly in the next year. Following that, the vehicle will be prepared for undocking, which is expected at about 2:30 a.m. EST (07:30 GMT) March 8.

It's a test flight without crew aboard, created to demonstrate the potential for carrying astronauts into orbit on a commercial spacecraft.

Dragon will spend four days docked to the ISS, after which Dragon will return to Earth with science samples as well as a failed spacesuit part needing fix.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said at a post-launch press conference Saturday that the mission is the "culmination of a long dream for a lot of people at SpaceX".

It will splash down in the Atlantic Ocean, from where it will be brought back to Cape Canaveral.

In order to certify Crew Dragon to carry humans, NASA and SpaceX will complete a series of four test flights, of which Demo-1 is the second. In the meantime, NASA is paying two companies - SpaceX and Boeing - to build and operate its next generation of rocket ships.

SpaceX already has made 16 trips to the space station using cargo Dragons.

Two NASA astronauts, Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, were watching 3.2 miles from the launch pad in the SpaceX launch control room.

Wing Commander Abhinandan undergoing 'cooling down' process, is met by Nirmala Sitharaman
The foreign minister said Pakistan would take action if it is provided with evidence against Jaish-e- Muhamamd. Pakistan retaliated by attempting to target Indian military installations on Wednesday.

Shotwell said she looks at the Earth's population and sees billions of potential customers for future SpaceX flights that feature tourists instead of astronauts."The work we're doing, and others as well, will completely change how we think about our world, our solar system, and candidly, life on Earth", she said.

The entire procedure was light on showmanship compared to SpaceX's last major flight test, when the company launched a red Tesla into space on its Falcon Heavy rocket.

Meanwhile, NASA has paid Russian Federation about $80 million per seat to send United States astronauts to space aboard Soyuz rockets - a fact that isn't very popular in the halls of Congress.

America has relied on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft for eight years after NASA retired the Space Shuttle in 2011.

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner capsule is tentatively scheduled for an unpiloted test flight at the end of April, followed by the company's first piloted launch atop an Atlas 5 rocket in August or September.

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

Jim Bridenstine, head of the U.S. space agency, has explained NASA wants to reduce costs in low orbit to devote resources to getting back to the Moon and constructing a small space station in lunar orbit in the 2020s. SpaceX engineers dubbed the dummy Ripley, a nod to the movie Alien.

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