SpaceX launches demo flight, with humans

SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule

SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule

Elon Musk, the CEO of US SpaceX aerospace company, said on Friday, after the launch of the SpaceX-manufactured Dragon 2 spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS), that, of all the other stages of the mission, he was most of all anxious about Dragon 2's docking with the ISS and its return to Earth.

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

Between today and March 8, SpaceX will aim to prove the safety and reliability of the Crew Dragon before astronauts can take the helm in June this year.

Looking on from Kennedy's Launch Control were the two NASA astronauts who will strap in as early as July for the second space demo, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken.

Either SpaceX or Boeing will have bragging rights as the first private company to launch humans into space on its own rocket, although plans call for rockets built by both companies to carry astronauts into space. We went to the moon and we won.

Although SpaceX has been flying a cargo-based version of the Dragon to the station since 2012, the new Dragon has been entirely remade for crew. That's the main reason he founded SpaceX in 2002, the billionaire entrepreneur has said repeatedly over the years - to help humanity become a multiplanet species.

For SpaceX, sending an astronaut into orbit would be a culmination of years of hard work and high-risk investment.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, its first spacecraft created to carry humans, took flight for the first time Saturday.

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.




Assuming everything goes well for Demo-1, the first Crew Dragon launch to carry actual humans into space could come as soon as summer 2019.

"The Crew Dragon is a fundamental redesign, with hardly a part in common with Dragon", SpaceX founder Elon Musk said early Saturday morning, after the launch, during a news briefing.

"We want to make sure we keep our partnership with Russian Federation, which has been very strong for a long period of time", explained Bridenstine before the flight.

Now that Demo-1 is in space, the next phase of its mission begins.

"We're only partway through the mission", Musk said.

Boeing also has a contract with NASA for manned space capsules.

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

Dragon 2 is a reusable spacecraft designed as a successor to the Dragon space freighter.

"The next big leap in a new chapter of USA human spaceflight systems has left the pad", NASA wrote on Twitter. "That would be pretty cool, " he said.

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