SpaceX capsule launched to space station

04 March, 2019, 04:09 | Author: Chad Warren
  • New NASA Mission To Study Space Weather From International Space Station

SpaceX's new Crew Dragon astronaut capsule was on its way to the International Space Station on Saturday after it successfully launched from Florida on board a Falcon 9 rocket.

On Thursday, SpaceX and NASA got the Falcon 9 rocket upright at the historic Launch Complex 39A, the same pad many astronauts departed the planet from during NASA's Space Shuttle era. Boeing is targeting an April test flight of its Starliner capsule without crew, and a launch with three astronauts no earlier than August. Currently, the space agency and its astronauts rely on Russian rockets and crew capsules to ferry Americans to and from ISS - an agreement with Roscosmos that ends in early 2020. The capsule won't carry humans, rather a test dummy, named Ripley after the tough heroine in the "Alien" films, in the same white SpaceX spacesuit that astronauts will wear.

Under what's called the Commercial Crew program, NASA released a "broad set of requirements" needed to ensure crew safety, the agency said.

Hans Koenigsmann, vice-president of SpaceX's build and flight reliability, said the company is happy to be playing a role in getting humans into space. "You guys think it's a good vehicle, right?" he asked Behnken and Hurley, seated alongside him.

The launch of the rocket is expected to be broadcast on the NASA television stations as well as by SpaceX on Saturday morning.

When the Dragon cargo reaches the ISS, Canadarm 2 captures it and brings it to dock.

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"Space weather is important because it can have profound impacts-affecting technology and astronauts in space, disrupting radio communications and, at its most severe, overwhelming power grids", says NASA. "But it's better to verify, make sure that it's safe and everything is comfortable for our astronauts going on the next flight of our capsule". 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.

"We are now able to take advantage of commercial industry in a way that used to not even be available to us", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during an interview in mid-February. "That's exactly what we want to do".

Boeing is now targeting April for the first launch of the Starliner capsule without crew. For the past eight years, USA astronauts have been hitching rides to the space station on Russian spacecraft.

The first crewed flight for SpaceX will take place some time in July. "Human spaceflight is a core value of the business of SpaceX".

The Falcon rocket is the same vehicle the company uses to loft cargo to the International Space Station and to put satellites in orbit.

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