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SpaceX Dragon capsule successfully completes docking test with ISS
SpaceX shows its Dragon capsule ready for manned missions.
SpaceX recently launched its Crew Dragon astronaut capsule with the help of its Falcon 9 rocket. Now, the capsule has successfully docked with the International Space Station. This is definitely one of the biggest achievements for the private space company.
Though the capsule was unmanned, it wasn't entirely without risks. The capsule wasn't using the robotic arm on the ISS for navigation, and also didn't have a backup method. So, there was a risk that the capsule might cause damage to the ISS. This was the reason Roscosmos was skeptic about the plans. They suggested that the capsule should have a few more hatches closed.
However, things went according to SpaceX and NASA's plan, resulting in a successful docking of the capsule. This wasn't the first time SpaceX has docked with the ISS, however, it was the first without the robotic arm.
"It was super exciting to see it," astronaut Bob Behnken, told the BBC. "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."
After the capsule docked with the ISS, the astronauts were able to board the spacecraft. The capsule will detach from the ISS and return to Earth after four days, completing the test. It is possible that SpaceX would ferry astronauts to the ISS by the end of 2019, and might bag the contract for Mars mission as well. The successful test could also mean that NASA might bid adieu to its space shuttle and trim down reliance on the Russian rockets.