SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft docked to the International Space Station's Harmony module forward port on Sunday following its launch aboard the company's Falcon 9 rocket from NASA“s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Demo-1 uncrewed test flight saw the spacecraft make 18 orbits of Earth and dock with the Harmony port via an international docking adapter, as well as new sensor and propulsion systems, NASA said Sunday.
Crew Dragon facilitated automated control and maneuvering functions as it approached the ISS and conducted in-orbit demonstrations such as far field and near field rendezvous activities before its final docking sequence from around 65 feet.
The spacecraft carried over 400 pounds of supplies and equipment as well as a lifelike testing platform called Ripley that contains sensors intended to obtain data on how traveling via Crew Dragon will affect humans.
“I proudly congratulate the SpaceX and NASA teams for this major milestone in our nation's space history,“ said Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator and 2019 Wash100 winner, during the launch on Saturday.
“This first launch of a space system designed for humans, and built and operated by a commercial company through a public-private partnership, is a revolutionary step on our path to get humans to the moon, Mars and beyond,“ he added.
Data from Demo-1 will be used to aid preparations for Demo-2, which is a crewed test flight to the ISS scheduled for July.
Crew Dragon, designed to remain docked with the ISS for a maximum of 210 days, will stay attached to the space station for only five days before its departure on March 8 carrying critical research samples back to Earth.