SpaceX’s Crew Dragon docks for first operational mission

SpaceX’s astro­naut-fer­ry­ing Crew Drag­on space­craft is now docked to the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion in Earth’s orbit, mark­ing the suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of the first phase of its inau­gur­al oper­a­tional mis­sion. Drag­on was cer­ti­fied for human space­flight ear­li­er this month by NASA after hav­ing com­plet­ed the devel­op­ment and test­ing pro­gram with a suc­cess­ful human demon­stra­tion flight ear­li­er in 2020.

Drag­on lift­ed off from Flori­da on Sun­day evening, car­ry­ing four astro­nauts, includ­ing NASA’s Michael Hop­kins, Vic­tor Glover and Shan­non Walk­er, and JAXA’s Soichi Noguchi. The space­craft then spent a lit­tle over a day on orbit, mov­ing into posi­tion to meet the Space Sta­tion and pre­pare for dock­ing. It com­plet­ed that late on Mon­day night, act­ing com­plete­ly autonomous­ly using SpaceX’s auto­mat­ed dock­ing soft­ware to con­nect to the Space Station’s new inter­na­tion­al dock­ing adapter, and then the hatch was opened by the exist­ing ISS crew and the new­ly arrived team mem­bers made their way over.

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