SpaceX's Crew Dragon successfully docks at International Space Station

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The spacecraft attached to ISS via "soft capture" at 5:51 a.m.

America's newest capsule for astronauts rocketed Saturday toward the International Space Station on a high-stakes test flight by SpaceX.

Crew Dragon 20 meters from ISS Crew Dragon holds position 20 meters away from the International Space Station's forward docking port on 3 March 2019, during its inaugural test flight. A crewed test launch of the Crew Dragon with actual astronauts aboard could take place as soon as July. Falcon 9 lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A, the launch site for the Apollo 11 mission that put humans on the moon."I would never have believed that this would ever happen", Musk said, referring to using the same launch site. Teams in the space station mission center at Johnson will monitor station crew members' opening of the spacecraft hatch, entering Crew Dragon and unpacking the capsule. It is also bringing 400 pounds equipment and supplies to the station.

It will spend five days docked to the orbiting outpost, before making a retro-style splashdown in the Atlantic next Friday - all vital training for the next space demo, possibly this summer, when two astronauts strap in.

"This is a critically important event in American history", Jim Bridenstine, the head of the USA space agency, told reporters, with the rocket and capsule visible behind him on the legendary launch pad where the Apollo missions to the Moon began. "We have to dock to the station".

"Human spaceflight is basically the core mission of SpaceX", explained Hans Koenigsmann, the company's vice president of build and flight reliability.

The Dragon should reach the space station Sunday.

The crew also took selfies and videos, including a few shots with Crew Dragon's second passenger, a small, stuffed Earth with limbs and a perplexed facial expression that bounced about the capsule in microgravity. Dragon will splash down in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast at approximately 8:45 a.m.

Doug Hurley, one of the two astronauts chosen for the future first manned flight, said: "We will be ready when SpaceX and Nasa are ready for us to fly".

Although SpaceX has been flying a cargo-based version of the Dragon to the station since 2012, the new Dragon has been entirely remade for crew.

"There is nothing more important for us than this endeavour, and we really appreciate the opportunity from Nasa to do this".

NASA's Commercial Crew Program is working with Boeing and SpaceX to design, build, test and operate safe, reliable and cost-effective human transportation systems to low-Earth orbit.

"Roscosmos congratulates NASA on the successful docking of the new ship and emphasizes that flight safety must be immaculate", the space agency tweeted according to Google Translate.

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