SpaceX's first crew test flight goes well so far — Dragon roars

The capsule is expected to reach the International Space Station on Sunday

The capsule is expected to reach the International Space Station on Sunday

No one is onboard the craft for the test flight with the exception of a test dummy named Ripley.

NASA, however, is expected to schedule one more uncrewed flight of the Crew Dragon before authorizing the two astronauts to fly the capsule to the space station.

Dragon will remain at the space station until Friday, when it undocks and aims for a splashdown in the Atlantic, a couple hundred miles off the Florida coast.

Space X is entrepreneur Elon Musk's company.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine marked Saturday's launch with a tweet, writing that the moment marked "a new chapter in American excellence".

Boeing is also in the race to end NASA's eight-year drought of launching USA astronauts on US rockets from USA soil.

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Further inland, gusts could still hit between 55 and 65 miles per hour across large parts of England, Wales and southern Scotland. Kelly also said conditions near coast areas could be especially risky due to the wind "whipping up large waves".

The Space X Crew Dragon capsule lifted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket early Saturday from Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

A crystal clear view of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, its nose cone hinged open, on final approach to the International Space Station.

"It's been a long eight years", the Kennedy Space Centre's director Bob Cabana, a former astronaut himself, said as SpaceX employees milled around the rocket. "NASA now pays $82 million per seat".

Both companies have received billions of dollars from NASA to develop spacecraft capable of transporting astronauts safely to and from the station.

"These events remind us. that we can be united by a cause that is not based on fear, threat or common enemy, but rather on a bold endeavor", she said. "That race is over". "We're going to learn a ton from this mission". But it won't happen before 2023 - with the rocket, far more powerful than that used for the Dragon mission, still in development. Crew now aboard the ISS completed a checkout of the docking port in advance of Saturday's launch, and verified the docking system was "go" for docking. Musk said the redesigned capsule has "hardly a part in common" with its predecessor.

Instead of solar wings, solar cells are on the spacecraft itself.

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"It's an incredibly sleek looking vehicle from the inside and it's very easy to operate, " Hurley told reporters just hours before liftoff.

Dragon first stabilized seven kilometers behind the ISS, and 2.5 kilometers below it.

The crew also took selfies and videos, including a few shots with Crew Dragon's second passenger, a small, stuffed Earth with limbs and a perplexed facial expression that bounced about the capsule in microgravity. The flight is also packed with around 450 pounds of supplies.

With both ships moving through space at almost five miles per second, the new crew capsule halted and briefly reversed course to demonstrate its ability to stop an approach and retreat on command if problems develop. After opening its nose cone for navigational purposes, Dragon is now spending about 24 hours performing a series of phasing maneuvers to bring it toward the International Space Station, where it will dock at around 6am ET Sunday. A recovery team will be dispatched to pick up the capsule and check out how Ripley fared. Engineers will be carefully watching sound, vibration and other stresses on the spacecraft, while monitoring the life-support, communication and propulsion systems.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon - the first crew-capable spacecraft the company has ever produced - is about to be tested in a big way. This will have its equivalent demo flight in the next couple of months. The more immediate goal is to avoid harming the space station and its three occupants: an American, Canadian and Russian. "We've launched a lot of Falcon 9 rockets now". Now a professor of human spaceflight at the University of Southern California, Reisman said the atmosphere was electric.

"When you're here, right, there's a pride in the country".

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I mean, as someone who has grinded away at achieving the esteemed Dredgen seal/title, there's no doubt this is right up our alley. Launch into a variety of activities to make your Guardians more unique, more powerful, and more risky in new and exciting ways.

The space agency is turning to private taxi rides to reduce its pricey reliance on Russian rockets to get astronauts to and from the space station.

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