SpaceX Capsule Arrives at ISS, Launching ‘A New Era’
Humans have entered SpaceX’s Crew Dragon while in orbit for the first time; just hours after the commercial spacecraft docked at the International Space Station on the morning of Sunday, March 3, 2019.
The new space vehicle, which carried only cargo and a human-sized dummy, launched Saturday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew on board the ISS watched on Sunday as Crew Dragon became the first American commercial space vehicle designed to carry humans to dock at the station, according to NASA.
Astronaut David Saint-Jacques and cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko swung open the hatch and entered the capsule at 7:07 a.m. Houston time, where NASA employees watched with bated breath. The success celebrated in Houston was echoed by cheers from the Hawthorne, California headquarters of Elon Musk’s ambitious SpaceX.
Tackling a To-Do List (Including Selfies!)
During Sunday’s mission, the ISS crew methodically checked off tasks, starting with atmospheric tests. After allowing the air in the craft to mix with the air in the station, the astronauts returned without oxygen masks to properly welcome Crew Dragon – by installing window covers and checking valves.
The crew also took selfies and videos, including a few shots with Crew Dragon’s second passenger, a small, stuffed Earth plushie with limbs and a perplexed facial expression that bounced about the capsule in microgravity.
The Crew Dragon is scheduled to remain docked for five days before returning to Earth on March 8.
This article was originally published by National Public Radio (NPR) on March 3, 2019. To read the article in its entirety, click here.