SpaceX Crew Dragon Successfully Launches and Docks With ISS
This past weekend was a big one for SpaceX, NASA, and the future of the American Space program as SpaceX launched their first Crew Dragon test vehicle into space and successfully docked with the International Space Station.
The Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon capsule atop it launched at 2:49 AM ET on Saturday morning. Measly 11 minutes after takeoff the Crew Dragon was already in space, and the Falcon 9 was heading back to earth for landing. The successful landing of the Falcon 9 on the SpaceX drone ship marks the 35th time SpaceX has successfully landed a first stage booster rocket.
Following the injection to orbit, the Crew Dragon orbited the Earth for a day, and on Sunday morning at 5:51 AM ET the Crew Dragon successfully docked with the International Space Station. This marks the first time a private crew space vehicle has socked with the ISS.
Around 8:00 AM ET the hatch was successfully opened allowing astronauts on the ISS to enter the Crew Dragon capsule. This again is the first time astronauts have been in the Crew Dragon capsule in space. Crew Dragon was not only a test, but it also transported some 400lbs of cargo to the ISS along with a SpaceX dummy to test the effects on astronauts during takeoff and landing.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon will stay docked to the ISS for a week following that it will detach and reenter the earth atmosphere and land near Florida in the Atlantic Ocean where it will be recovered by a SpaceX ship and transported back to Cape Canaveral for diagnostic testing and study.