The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft successfully delivered two astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA on Sunday, in a mission that saw a flawless liftoff yesterday and an equally smooth docking in yet another first for Elon Musk’s company.
Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken were set to take over manual control if necessary, but the SpaceX Dragon capsule pulled up to the station and docked automatically, no assistance needed.
It was the first time a privately built and owned spacecraft carried astronauts to the orbiting lab in its nearly 20 years. It has been nearly a decade since American Astronauts were able to be launched from US soil since the cancellation of the space shuttle program. In what is also a SpaceX innovation, the main booster rocket returned to earth yesterday, landing on a recovery ship.