That was smooth. (And historic.)
Some 262 miles above Earth, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon craft autonomously docked to the International Space Station on Sunday at 10:16 a.m. ET, another successful achievement in the first-ever launch of astronauts into Earth’s orbit by a private company. Next, NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will prepare to open up the hatch and enter the station.
The trip from the Florida coast to the space station took just under 19 hours. Now, the space station, Crew Dragon, and its occupants are all orbiting Earth at around 17,150 mph.
Prior to docking, the astronauts took control of the Crew Dragon to test manual piloting of the craft in space, before putting Dragon back into its automatic docking mode.
The Crew Dragon launched into space atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday afternoon from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center — from the same pad NASA first launched astronauts to the moon, over half a century ago.
It’s a burgeoning, new era in spaceflight.