SpaceX launches rocket bound for International Space Station

SpaceX rocket launches towards the International Space Station

"Congratulations to all nations, private space firms and individuals who wake up every day driven by the magic of exploration", American astronaut Anne McClain, the third crew member on the station, said at a welcoming ceremony broadcast over NASA TV.

"Our honest congratulations to all earthlings who have enabled the opening of this next chapter in space exploration", NASA astronaut Anne McClain said from aboard the ISS during a welcoming ceremony for the Crew Dragon. But Sunday's event was a major step forward for the company, which has so far only ferried cargo into and out of orbit. Space travel is still a costly endeavor, but these capsules were developed in partnership with NASA and the price of a seat is about $30 million cheaper.

The dummy is nicknamed Ripley, in honour of Ellen Ripley, the fictional character played by Sigourney Weaver in the 1979 film, Alien, Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX's vice president of Build and Flight Reliability, revealed on Thursday in a pre-launch news briefing.

Though Demo-1 is astronaut-free, Crew Dragon is carrying one lifeless - but lifelike - passenger, a dummy outfitted with a variety of sensors so scientists can measure the forces exerted on the body during the mission. The contracts may be worth as much as US$6.8 billion and allow the United States to avoid using the Russian Soyuz capsule to transport workers to the ISS.

The unmanned capsule arrived right on schedule just before 6 a.m. (ET) on Sunday, following its early morning launch on Saturday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

R. Kelly back in custody after child support hearing today
The "I Believe I Can Fly" singer reportedly owes $161,000 in back child support, according to state offices, CNN reported. After the interview, one of the young women who now lives with Kelly spoke with her family for the first time in years.

"I know you heard the applause and all the clapping that went along with the accomplishment today and so it's just one more milestone that gets us ready for our flight coming up here". It docked autonomously, instead of relying on the station's robot arm for help. "Welcome to the new era in space flight".

SpaceX aims to launch Behnken and Hurley as early as July. "This day belongs to all of us".

At the post-launch press conference on Saturday, he reiterated his dream for a permanent Moon base - and sending people to Mars. Musk jokingly said they better wait a week, until the Dragon returns, before responding.

In another success, the rocket's first stage returned to Earth, landing on a platform 500 kilometres off the Florida coast in the Atlantic.

While Saturday's SpaceX test mission is a crucial step in the oft-delayed project, there are questions about whether NASA can achieve its 2019 flight goal of manned flight. Boeing's CST-100 Starliner capsule could undergo its first uncrewed test flight in April. "That would be pretty cool", he said.

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