Published: Sun, March 03, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

SpaceX successfully launches Crew Dragon

SpaceX successfully launches Crew Dragon

While Falcon 9's have completed many successful lift-offs, today's was special because it is the first outing for SpaceX's new Crew Dragon module, created to take astronauts into orbit.

With only a dummy named Ripley on board, the launch was a dress rehearsal for the first manned test flight - scheduled for later this year with two NASA astronauts.

At 2:49 a.m. ET today, SpaceX launched their latest Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The announcement was met with applause at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The capsule is now headed to the International Space Station and should dock with the space laboratory on Sunday at approximately 6 a.m. ET.

It is to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean, and then return to Cape Canaveral.

A few minutes after first and second stage separation, the main stage successfully executed a controlled landing on SpaceX's droneship in the Atlantic - the company's 35th successful landing of a rocket booster.

"We're going to have more access to space at a better cost than at any point in human history", said Bridenstine, adding he was "100 per cent confident" that a manned flight would happen by year's end. In 2014, as part of the "commercial crew" program, the agency awarded contracts worth a combined $6.8 billion to SpaceX and Boeing to develop spacecraft capable of flying up to four astronauts to the station at a time.

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Boeing's Starliner capsule will be tested in April, at the earliest.

The mission aims to test the vessel's reliability and safety in real-life conditions. If you enjoy our coverage and are able, please consider supporting us on Patreon to help in our efforts to to bring you fantastic content about the space industry! NASA now pays $82 million per seat.

Following a successful launch early Saturday morning, SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft is set to rendezvous and dock to the International Space Station for the first time.

"The next big leap in a new chapter of US human spaceflight systems has left the pad", NASA wrote on Twitter.

NASA did not want to rely on just one single vehicle, in case of accidents. The commercial-crew deal with SpaceX, and a similar one NASA signed with Boeing in 2014, was created to end that reliance on a foreign power. "And we'll be ready when SpaceX and NASA are ready for us to fly it".

The Falcon rocket is the same vehicle the company uses to loft cargo to the International Space Station and to put satellites in orbit.

SpaceX aced a key NASA review ahead of Saturday's launch. Now a professor of human spaceflight at the University of Southern California, Reisman said the atmosphere was electric.

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