This Week @ NASA: An Important Step for Commercial Crew

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This Week @ NASA: An Important Step for Commercial Crew

"Maybe there's something beyond the space station, but we'll see". The capsule is the first American spacecraft which can carry a crew that has been designed in nearly a decade.

At 2:49 a.m. EST on March 2, SpaceX launched Crew Dragon's first demonstration mission from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

"Well that's the very first space policy directive given by the President of the United States to me as the NASA administrator, that we're gonna go to the moon, and we're gonna go sustainably", said Bridenstine. The scientists took readings from the inside of the Crew Dragon, and have been outfitted with respiration aids to make sure they wouldn't be in any hazard if the environment contained in the capsule wasn't good.

The unmanned spacecraft of the private company SpaceX crew dragon left for the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday. After 11 minutes of launch, the vehicle separated from the rocket. SpaceX, founded by billionaire Elon Musk, has made the trip to the ISS a dozen times before since 2012, but only to refuel the station.

SpaceX said the spacesuit for Ripley, apparently a reference to the protagonist in the science fiction movie "Alien", has been embedded with sensors around its head, neck, and spine to monitor how a flight would feel for a human.

As the capsule closed in on the space station, its nose cap was wide open like a dragon's mouth to expose the docking mechanism. At 10:51 UTC (05:51 EST), a full nine minutes ahead of schedule, the spacecraft successfully docked with the worldwide docking adaptor at the forward end of the Harmony module.

Saint-Jacques tweeted about the experience monitoring Crew Dragon's "first-ever approach and docking" to the space station, hailing it as "the dawn of a new era in human spaceflight!"

If the spacecraft's descent proceeds in a normal regime, it will travel to the orbital outpost with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on its board in July.

Next up, though, is Boeing, which is looking to launch its Starliner capsule without a crew as early as April and with a crew possibly in August. The version designed for humans is slightly bigger and safer.

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