SpaceX's astronaut-riding Dragon arrives at space station

Ruben Fields
June 1, 2020

USA astronauts aboard the SpaceX spacecraft docked with the International Space Station early Sunday, about 19 hours after their historic launch in Florida.

"It's been a real honor to be a small part of this nine-year endeavour since the last time a United States spaceship has docked with the ISS", he said, noting that the SpaceX Dragon was only the first of a new generation of privately-built spacecraft, including Boeing's CST100-Starliner, that will eventually carry humans.

In this still image taken from NASA TV, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (front) and Doug Hurley reach orbit on Saturday, after launching from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The three large displays that allow Hurley and Behnken to monitor systems and control the spacecraft are a world away from the analogue buttons, dials and control stick that featured in the cockpit of the shuttle, which flew from 1981 to 2011.

Over a space-to-ground video link, Hurley said he hoped the past week's achievements would provide a dose of optimism amid the coronavirus pandemic, economic reversals and waves of civil unrest.

Russia's space agency criticised U.S. President Donald Trump's "hysteria" about the first spaceflight of NASA astronauts from U.S. soil in nine years, but also said on Sunday it was pleased there was now another way to travel into space.

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin congratulated NASA chief Jim Bridenstine for the success.

Ustimenko said Russian Federation planned to test two new rockets this year and to resume its lunar programme next year.

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"I know most of you, at SpaceX especially, know it as "Capsule 206, ' but I think all of us thought that maybe we could do a little bit better than that", Hurley said during the live broadcast".

In 2014, Russian space agency chief Dmitry Rogozin took a dig at NASA for the lack of United States manned flight programme and said, they will "deliver its astronauts to the ISS by using a trampoline".

The reusable first booster stage of the Falcon 9 rocket separated cleanly about 2.5 minutes after liftoff and landed upright on a floating barge off the Atlantic coast. While they're there, the Dragon test pilots will join NASA's Cassidy and two Russian station residents in performing experiments and possibly spacewalks to install fresh station batteries.

"Welcome to Bob and Doug". On Sunday, the Crew Dragon arrived and docked at the space station.

The pair, veterans of two space shuttle missions each, were in quarantine for more than two weeks ahead of the flight and were regularly tested for COVID-19.

The Crew Dragon being used for this flight test can stay in orbit about 110 days, and the specific mission duration will be determined once on station based on the readiness of the next commercial crew launch. The launch escape system (LES) consists of a set of SpaceX-designed SuperDraco engines that fire in the event of an emergency to propel the capsule and its crew away from the rocket and land them safely using parachutes.

"Dragon was huffing and puffing all the way into orbit", he said. "We're going to partner with commercial industry". And previous year, an uncrewed second-generation Crew Dragon visited the station during a demonstration mission.

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