HOUSTON - Sunday morning Space X's Crew Dragon successfully docked to the International Space Station carrying Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnkin. The first two astronauts to enter the hatch from a commercial spacecraft and the first launched from US soil in 9 years with mission control Houston working the approach.
"Today is a victory for the United States of America congratulations to the good men and women of NASA. Congratulations to the good men and women of SpaceX” said U.S. Senator Ted Cruz who watched from mission control at NASA Johnson’s Space Center.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine watched the docking from mission control, “This mission was a success today largely because of the great work done here at the Johnson Space Center."
It's a part of NASA's Commercial Crew program to commercialize human spaceflight.
“This time when we go to the moon, we get to go with all of America,” said Cruz.
It is a step to prepare for more human space exploration under the Artemis Program.
“Getting to the Space Station getting to the moon tomorrow and getting to Mars after that,” said Bridenstine.
Space X will be reusing boosters like this one which officials say is more cost-efficient.
“What an amazing technological innovation. What a cost-saving innovation,” Cruz said.
The Demo-2 Launch is to certify the Crew Dragon spacecraft by NASA for crewed missions to and from the ISS. Then once that happens humans will be able to travel to and from space on the spacecraft as early as late 2021.
“Our high priority now is to bring Bob and Doug home safely and of course that is going to be with the work here and the Johnson Space Center,” Bridenstine said.
The astronauts are expected to stay on the ISS anywhere from 1 to 3 months where they will then come back on the Crew Dragon for a water landing.