SpaceX, Elon Musk’s aerospace manufacturer has sent the Dragon capsule into space for its first test flight with a sole passenger – a mannequin named Ripley.
The Dragon’s arrival at the International Space Station was the next step in the plans for a Dragon capsule to launch with two NASA astronauts inside in the middle of the year.
The capsule took off from Florida and docked at the orbiting lab some 400km above the Pacific, north of New Zealand. The Dragon will remain there until Friday when it will undock and make a splash off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic.
After the Dragon landed, three crew members already on the space station entered the capsule to remove supplies and take air samples. Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques said the smooth docking was “a beautiful thing to see”.
The Dragon has four seats, three windows, a touch screen computer, life-support equipment, solar cells and eight abort engines. While the landing was successful, some of the equipment and aspects of the design need work before the capsule houses humans.
The study was covered by local and international media including:
Stuff: SpaceX crew capsule docks at the International Space Station
Newshub: SpaceX Dragon capsule docks with International Space Station
NZ Herald: Milestone for SpaceX: Capsule with test dummy docks at space station
NZ Herald: Elon Musk’s SpaceX crew capsule rockets toward space station with test dummy
Radio NZ: ‘Welcome to a new ear in space flight’: New SpaceX capsule docks with space station
BBC News: Inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule that has docked on the ISS
Time: SpaceX’s new crew capsule successfully docks at the international space station