SpaceX crew capsule rockets towards ISS

SpaceX crew capsule rockets towards ISS

This latest, flashiest Dragon is on a fast track to reach the space station Sunday morning, just 27 hours after liftoff.

This handout photo released by NASA shows the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-1 mission on March 1, 2019 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Since then, it has been buying seats in Russian Soyuz rockets - the only ones capable of transporting humans there. The module was carried safely into space by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, which launched from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The excitement was palpable at Cape Canaveral, from the space-fan volunteers guiding media on site, to the tourists who came to watch.

Frustrated with NASA and influenced by science fiction writers, Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002.

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

The capsule successfully separated from the rocket about 11 minutes later, sparking cheers in the control room, and began its journey to the space station.

"It's been a long eight years", the Kennedy Space Center's director Bob Cabana, a former astronaut himself, said as SpaceX employees milled around the rocket. It will not be tested until April, in a mission similar to SpaceX's.

In 2014, the U.S. space agency awarded contracts to SpaceX and Boeing for them to take over this task.

Though no human crew was on board, locked within the capsule was a flight dummy nicknamed Ripley and an anthropomorphic plushie of planet Earth created to indicate when the capsule had reached zero gravity.

Saturday's flight aims to test the vessel's reliability and safety in real-life conditions.

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.

Why it matters: For almost a decade, NASA has been reliant on Russian rockets to put their astronauts into orbit. If all goes according to plan, Starship and Super Heavy will launch a Japanese billionaire and numerous other passengers on a round-the-moon mission in 2023, and perhaps send the first people toward Mars a few years later. So, that is certainly going to be something new that we haven't done before.

"Every mission is important, but this is even more important, said Koenigsmann, the firm's vice-president for build and flight reliability".

The capsule is now in orbit, while the Falcon 9 safely landed on one of the drone ships in the Atlantic. Now a professor of human spaceflight at the University of Southern California, Reisman said the atmosphere was electric.

In less than a decade, SpaceX has become a key partner for Nasa, in addition to dominating the market for private satellite launches.

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