‘Astronaut’ dummy Ripley rides aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon bound for space

‘Astronaut’ dummy Ripley rides aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon bound for space

The Crew Dragon was launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida early Saturday morning.

SpaceX said the spacesuit for Ripley, apparently a reference to the protagonist in the science fiction movie "Alien", has been embedded with sensors around its head, neck, and spine to monitor how a flight would feel for a human.

The Crew Dragon used the station's new global docking adapter for the first time since astronauts installed it during a spacewalk in August 2016, following its delivery to the station in the trunk of a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on its ninth commercial resupply services mission. That's the part of the uncrewed test run that concerns SpaceX CEO Elon Musk the most, the BBC wrote. Engineers will be carefully watching sound, vibration and other stresses on the spacecraft, while monitoring the life-support, communication and propulsion systems. Musk tweeted. True to his word, the toy rose weightlessly above the seat once the capsule was in orbit.

Although the docking is a major milestone for human space flight, the Crew Dragon - and Ripley- are not home free yet as the most hard part of the journey may be re-entry.

Crew now aboard the ISS completed a checkout of the docking port in advance of Saturday's launch, and verified the docking system was "go" for docking.

The Demo-1 mission marks the first flight of the new and improved Dragon 2 spacecraft, which is longer and more massive than its Dragon 1 predecessor.

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While SpaceX has sent plenty of cargo Dragons to the space station, crew Dragon is a different beast.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon began its inaugural test flight early Saturday morning.

Bridenstine said it's only a matter of time before astronauts are being carried into space aboard Dragons or Starliners.

"I really believe in the future of space and I think it's important we become a spacefaring civilisation and be out there among the stars, and I think that's one of the things that makes people excited about the future", he said. Coincidentally, that adapter was delivered by a non-Crew SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

It can carry as many as seven people and has three windows, emergency-abort engines that can pull the capsule to safety, and streamlined controls, with just 30 buttons and touch screens, compared with the space shuttle cockpit's 2,000 switches and circuit breakers. In a docking with a crew aboard, the capsule would likewise operate autonomously, though the astronauts might push a button or two and would be able to intervene if necessary.

Saint-Jacques and Kononenko were the first to enter the Crew Dragon after opening the hatch.

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