Following a successful launch early Saturday morning, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is set to rendezvous and dock to the International Space Station for the first time. Docking is scheduled for approximately 6:00 AM EST (11:00 UTC) on Sunday, March 3.
A Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket lofted Dragon to orbit from LC-39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, kicking off the first orbital test flight of NASA’s Commercial Crew program.
The Demo-1 mission marks the first flight of the new and improved Dragon 2 spacecraft, which is longer and more massive than its Dragon 1 predecessor.
Furthermore, the crew variant of Dragon 2 is one of two spacecraft that will return domestic crew launch capability to the United States, the other being Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner.
Starliner and Dragon 2 – via Nathan Koga for NSF/L2
In order to certify Crew Dragon to carry humans, NASA and SpaceX will complete a series of four test flights, of which Demo-1 is the second. Following a successful pad abort test in 2015, the objective of Demo-1 is to demonstrate nominal end-to-end performance of Crew Dragon and its launcher, Falcon 9.
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