SpaceX and NASA gave the green light for the precedent-setting Demo-2 mission Saturday afternoon, officially bringing crewed space launches back to U.S. soil for the first time since the Space Shuttle era. Following a faultless launch involving a Falcon 9 rocket, the Crew Dragon capsule continued its course in outer space for a ~19-hour journey to the International Space Station carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.
Along the way, Crew Dragon conducted a plethora of thruster burns, both to adjust the capsule’s trajectory and to help align the spacecraft with the International Space station’s docking port. According to SpaceX, much of the alignment thrusts took place ahead of schedule, which is always a good sign. After the spacecraft got close enough, Dragon’s automated system took over in what’s called the ‘hands-off’ period.
As of this morning, SpaceX reactivated its live broadcast of the Demo-2 mission on YouTube, giving viewers the opportunity to watch the Crew Dragon capsule dock with the International Space Station as existing crew members welcome Behnken and Hurley aboard.
The historic Crew Dragon docking transpired at approximately 10:16 A.M, marking the first time in history that one of SpaceX’s own capsules delivered human beings to the International Space Station and paving the way for future crewed space launches in collaboration with NASA.