SpaceX capsule is on its way to the ISS

SpaceX launched successfully on Saturday early morning its new Space Crew Dragon capsule from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This test flight without crew onboard but instead carrying a mannequin, named Ripley, is intended to demonstrate SpaceX’s capabilities to safely and reliably fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

On this first test flight, Crew Dragon is transporting roughly 400 pounds of crew supplies and equipment to the International Space Station, as well as mass simulators and an anthropomorphic test device that is fitted with sensors around the head, neck, and spine to gather data ahead of SpaceX’s second demonstration mission with NASA astronauts onboard the spacecraft.

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ended its space shuttle program in 2011, and started a commercial crew program with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Boeing.

Since 2011, NASA used Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to take astronauts into space.

Dragon is set to reach ISS on Sunday around 11 am GMT where will be welcomed by an American, a Canadian and a Russian. Five days later, it will detach itself and enter the earth's atmosphere again, to fall back to the Atlantic, from where it will be brought back to Cape Canaveral and four parachutes will slow down his fall.

What today really represents is a new era in spaceflight, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said after the launch, adding “We’re looking forward to being one of many customers in a robust commercial marketplace in low-Earth orbit.”

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