SpaceX’s astronaut-riding Dragon arrives at space station

LIFTOFF: NASA resumes human spaceflight with historic SpaceX launch

The wind and waves need to be within limits in case the SpaceX Dragon crew capsule - carrying Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken - needs to make an emergency splashdown. And it marks the first time commercially developed space vehicles - owned and operated by a private entity rather than NASA - have carried Americans into orbit. Historically, NASA subcontracted numerous aerospace companies to build spacecraft, but SpaceX exists in the private sector.

NASA chief Jim Bridenstine has said resuming launches of American astronauts on American-made rockets from US soil is the space agency's top priority. Look carefully, and you'll see one on the wrist of Behnken during the pre-launch checks with the signature velcro strap.

This is SpaceX's final test flight for NASA's Commercial Crew Program and will provide critical data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking and landing operations.

"Let's bring companies on board to not only fly people to [the International Space station], but let's bring companies on board to do the science", Koch said. Eastern Time. The spacecraft is created to do this autonomously, but the two astronauts and the station will be monitoring approach and docking, and can take control of the spacecraft if necessary. From there, Behnken and Hurley will transfer over to the station, where they're set to stay for a period of between six and sixteen weeks, depending on NASA's determination of how long the mission should last. This is somewhat dependent on staffing requirements on board the ISS, since now there's only one USA astronaut there in an operational capacity, and Hurley and Behnken will be tasked with assisting with experiments and maintenance on the station.

Once it's determined when they're coming back, they'll climb back aboard the Crew Dragon, seal it up and then detach from the station.

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