SpaceX launched Crew Dragon Capsule into Earth's orbit

Colonel Chris Hadfield - first Canadian Commander of the International Space Station and Author of the book, 'An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth'. The capsule is the first American spacecraft which can carry a crew that has been designed in nearly a decade. If this six-day test flight goes well, SpaceX could launch two NASA astronauts to the orbiting outpost this summer.

The photo, which she captured as the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule approached the International Space Station to dock for the first time, sums up the wonder of the history-making test mission.

"Well that's the very first space policy directive given by the President of the United States to me as the NASA administrator, that we're gonna go to the moon, and we're gonna go sustainably", said Bridenstine.

At the same time, the astronauts now on board the ISS kept a close watch to make sure the Crew Dragon performed as expected - U.S astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jaques were the ones in charge of commanding the Crew Dragon to hold, retreat to abort the mission altogether, if anything went wrong. A joint venture between NASA and SpaceX, Crew Dragon is expected to be critical in launching commercial spaceships. The rocket included sensors to measure life-support systems on the flight.

The Crew Dragon capsule was carrying a dummy astronaut, an "anthropomorphic test device" named Ripley after the lead character played by Sigourney Weaver in the Alien film series.

But Musk has admitted that marketing travel in the Dragon capsule is not a priority - and he is more interested in distant exploration of the solar system. Now, the capsule has successfully docked with the International Space Station.

Next up, though, is Boeing, which is looking to launch its Starliner capsule without a crew as early as April and with a crew possibly in August.

It can carry as many as seven people and has three windows, emergency-abort engines that can pull the capsule to safety, and streamlined controls, with just 30 buttons and touch screens, compared with the space shuttle cockpit's 2,000 switches and circuit breakers. Next comes the vehicle's final test, returning to Earth for a splashdown in the Atlantic, which is scheduled for Friday morning.

  • Joey Payne