SpaceX Crew Dragon Lands Crucial Station Docking

Mar 3, 2019
Originally published on March 3, 2019 4:56 pm
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ANNE MCCLAIN: Dragon Hatch opened at 1307.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Copy.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Early this morning, a spacecraft called Crew Dragon docked at the International Space Station.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MCCLAIN: On behalf of Ripley, little Earth, myself and our crew, welcome to the Crew Dragon. Congratulations to all of the teams who made yesterday's launch and today's docking a success.

MARTIN: SpaceX, the space exploration company founded by Elon Musk, developed Crew Dragon, which is the first American spacecraft capable of carrying humans to be launched since NASA stopped developing its own space shuttles in 2011.

JIM BRIDENSTINE: 2019 is the year we launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil for the first time since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.

MARTIN: Jim Bridenstine is NASA administrator. He was at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida when the crewless vessel launched yesterday morning.

BRIDENSTINE: It was a beautiful launch. It was a dark sky. There were clouds on the horizon with lightning, and it was absolutely beautiful.

MARTIN: There were no humans onboard the spacecraft, but there was a dummy named Ripley.

BRIDENSTINE: Elon Musk decided to name the mannequin Ripley after the character in the movie "Alien."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ALIEN")

SIGOURNEY WEAVER: (As Ripley) This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.

MARTIN: Bridenstine says the entire mission so far has been a success, from the launch to the docking at the International Space Station. But the work is not over yet.

BRIDENSTINE: We have another five days before the Dragon releases from the International Space Station and comes home safely. And I'm knocking on wood as I say that.

MARTIN: But if all goes according to plan, Bridenstine says this is the dawn of a new era in human spaceflight.

(SOUNDBITE OF COLLIDE'S "SPACE ODDITY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.