SpaceX's Dragon Crew capsule set for historic test

Cristina Cross
March 3, 2019

NASA astronaut Eric Boe (L) and Norm Knight, deputy director of flight operations at NASA's Johnson Space Center, watch the launch.

"I'm a little emotionally exhausted, because that was super stressful but it worked, so far", Musk told a late-night press conference an hour later.

As part of its Commercial Crew program, NASA handed contracts to both SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to develop rockets that could send astronauts back to space. No private company has ever launched humans into orbit, and during a webcast of the launch, SpaceX employees could be seen packed into the main foyer of the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., cheering each milestone. We went to the moon and we won. "And then re-entry", Musk said at a press conference, held in the Kennedy Space Center, when asked which stages of the Dragon 2 mission he anxious about most.

For employees of SpaceX-who have worked to bring Crew Dragon to fruition for most of the last decade-Saturday morning's launch proved cathartic.

In 2014, the USA space agency awarded contracts to SpaceX and Boeing for them to take over this task.

Though Demo-1 is astronaut-free, Crew Dragon is carrying one lifeless - but lifelike - passenger, a dummy outfitted with a variety of sensors so scientists can measure the forces exerted on the body during the mission.

The United States halted its manned spacecraft program in 2011 and since then USA astronauts have relied on Russian spacecraft to get back and forth to the Space Station.

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His new job title will be "self-checkout host" and Adam will greet customers by the self-checkout. Joerndt's sunny demeanor has changed in the past week, said his mother, Vickie Fogarty.

SpaceX has used the site to ferry cargo and supplies to the space station.

"We're going to take it day by day", Bridenstine said of the timeline. Today, SpaceX launched a new Crew Dragon capsule to demonstrate their readiness for manned spaceflight. But he stressed it was more important to move deliberately so "we get it right".

While the Dragon spacecraft launched successfully Saturday, the mission still has several significant hurdles to clear.

"Previously, we would go close to the space station, and an [ISS robotic] arm would reach out and grab..." The more immediate goal is to avoid harming the space station and its three occupants: an American, Canadian and Russian.

In the video, you can see the inside of the unmanned capsule as it launches, which contains a dummy model named Ripley, and a small Earth plushy.

Saturday's flight "is the next critical step in putting people on Dragon", he said. SpaceX plans to recycle the newly flying capsule for a high-altitude abort test this spring, along with a booster launched and retrieved a week ago.

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