SpaceX launches its new Crew Dragon capsule for the first time, paving the way for passenger flights3 min read

But the Crew Dragon’s mission is far from over

Early Saturday morning, SpaceX successfully launched its new Crew Dragon capsule from Cape Canaveral, Florida — the start of a milestone test needed to certify the vehicle for carrying passengers.

Mounted on top of one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, the Crew Dragon soared into space at 2:49AM ET and deployed into orbit just 11 minutes later. Following takeoff, SpaceX then landed its Falcon 9 on one of the company’s drone ships in the Atlantic — the company’s 35th successful landing overall. The capsule, now in orbit around Earth, will attempt to dock with the International Space Station early tomorrow morning. It’s the ultimate dress rehearsal for how the capsule will someday bring NASA astronauts to the orbiting lab.

The Crew Dragon is a crucial piece of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which revolves around developing private spacecraft to send people to and from the International Space Station. Through this program, two companies — SpaceX and Boeing — have been developing their own capsules that will be able to take NASA astronauts to space and then bring them back down to Earth. But before those capsules can carry people, NASA wants to see the vehicles in action.

Early Saturday morning, SpaceX successfully launched its new Crew Dragon capsule from Cape Canaveral, Florida — the start of a milestone test needed to certify the vehicle for carrying passengers.

Mounted on top of one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, the Crew Dragon soared into space at 2:49AM ET and deployed into orbit just 11 minutes later. Following takeoff, SpaceX then landed its Falcon 9 on one of the company’s drone ships in the Atlantic — the company’s 35th successful landing overall. The capsule, now in orbit around Earth, will attempt to dock with the International Space Station early tomorrow morning. It’s the ultimate dress rehearsal for how the capsule will someday bring NASA astronauts to the orbiting lab.

The Crew Dragon is a crucial piece of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which revolves around developing private spacecraft to send people to and from the International Space Station. Through this program, two companies — SpaceX and Boeing — have been developing their own capsules that will be able to take NASA astronauts to space and then bring them back down to Earth. But before those capsules can carry people, NASA wants to see the vehicles in action.

A few hours later, the hatch of the Crew Dragon will open, and there will be a small welcoming ceremony. The station crew — NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, and Russia cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko — will go inside the Dragon and retrieve more than 400 pounds of cargo, as well as greet Ripley. During its stay, the three crew members will perform various tests on the Crew Dragon to see how the vehicle is holding up in the space environment.

However, Crew Dragon won’t linger at the ISS for long. After it is fully checked out, it will be loaded up with cargo for its return to to Earth. Early Friday morning it will undock from the ISS and then make the plunge toward our planet. A system of parachutes will deploy to slow the Dragon down during its descent, allowing it to plunge safely in the Atlantic Ocean near Florida. From there, a SpaceX recovery vehicle will retrieve the Crew Dragon and carry it back to shore.


Sources: • Verge

Featured Image: NASA/Joel Kowsky


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Sebastien Clarke

Astronaut is dedicated to bringing you the latest news, reviews and information from the world of space, entertainment, sci-fi and technology. With videos, images, forums, blogs and more, get involved today & join our community!
Sebastien Clarke

Latest posts by Sebastien Clarke (see all)

Sebastien Clarke

Astronaut is dedicated to bringing you the latest news, reviews and information from the world of space, entertainment, sci-fi and technology. With videos, images, forums, blogs and more, get involved today & join our community!

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