CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX’s new crew capsule has arrived at the International Space Station, acing its second milestone in just over a day.
No one was aboard the Dragon capsule launched Saturday on its first test flight, only an instrumented dummy. But the three station astronauts had front-row seats as the Dragon neatly docked Sunday morning and became the first American-made, designed-for-crew spacecraft to pull up in eight years.
Capture confirmed! After making 18 orbits of Earth since its launch, @SpaceX’s #CrewDragon spacecraft successfully attached to the @Space_Station via “soft capture” at 5:51am ET while the station was traveling just north of New Zealand. Watch: https://t.co/oJKHgK8eV7 pic.twitter.com/xO1rU5cAMM
— NASA (@NASA) March 3, 2019
If the six-day demo goes well, SpaceX could launch two astronauts this summer under NASA’s commercial crew program. Both astronauts were at SpaceX Mission Control in California, observing all the action.
While SpaceX has sent plenty of cargo Dragons to the space station, crew Dragon is a different beast. It docked autonomously, instead of relying on the station’s robot arm for help.