Published: Sun, March 03, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

SpaceX Launches Capsule On Test Run To International Space Station

SpaceX Launches Capsule On Test Run To International Space Station

A SpaceX rocket lighted up the sky early Saturday morning as it launched a capsule on its way to the International Space Station, bringing the United States one step closer to resuming manned space flight.

SpaceX has successfully launched an unmanned crew capsule named Crew Dragon into orbit around the Earth. The rocket lifts off and after a couple of minutes, it performs a stage separation.

The Crew Dragon capsule is headed to the International Space Station (ISS) and if all goes to plan, it should dock there at 6 a.m. ET on Sunday.

It is to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean, and then return to Cape Canaveral.

In another success, the rocket's first stage returned to Earth, landing on a platform 500 kilometers (310 miles) off the Florida coast in the Atlantic.

Nasa had announced weather conditions were good head of the launch, with an 80 per cent chance of favourable weather.

"I proudly congratulate the SpaceX and NASA teams for this major milestone in our nation's space history", he added.

NASA selected SpaceX and Boeing to design and build crew-carrying spacecraft to shepherd astronauts to and from the space station - replacements for the Space Shuttle, which NASA retired in 2011.

The excitement was palpable at Cape Canaveral, from the space-fan volunteers guiding media on site, to the tourists who came to watch. Soyuz tickets have skyrocketed over the years; NASA now pays $82 million per seat. "That we want the things that are in science fiction novels and movies not to be science fiction forever, we want them to be real one day".

NASA is also working with Boeing on a test flight of its Starliner capsule, also without a crew, scheduled for this year. It will not be tested until April, in a mission similar to SpaceX's. 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.

Reuters reported on February 21 that SpaceX and Boeing both must address significant design and safety concerns before they can fly humans.

Bridenstine said he was "100 per cent confident" those flights would happen this year.

The SpaceX rocket took off this morning from Florida carrying only a test dummy.

The Commercial Crew Program is a very big deal for NASA.

California's SpaceX firm has carried out a demonstration of a new rocket and capsule combination.

Now NASA said it is on the verge of recapturing some of the national pride that has been a hallmark of its human spaceflight program since the beginning of the Space Age. "Human spaceflight is a core value of business of SpaceX".

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