SpaceX’s Crew Dragon docked with the ISS at 10:16 a.m. ET.
The approach of the Crew Dragon proceeded smoothly and about 15 minutes ahead of schedule.
The two astronauts, Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, took over manual control, firing the thrusters to shift the spacecraft’s position, before turning control back to a computer for the final few steps leading to docking.
When docking was completed, Hurley congratulated staff at SpaceX and NASA, saying, “It’s been a real honor to be just a small part of this nine-year endeavor since the last time a United States spaceship has docked with the International Space Station.”
Just after 1 p.m., almost three hours after docking, the hatch was opened between the Crew Dragon and ISS. Soon afterward, the three astronauts on the station welcomed Behnken and Hurley aboard, as the two were greeted with hugs and handshakes.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon that took off from Kennedy Space Center aboard a Falcon9 rocket on Saturday afternoon is moments away from docking with the International Space Station.
The spacecraft took off from the same launch pad that was used during the Apollo mission to the moon in 1969.
It represents the first time a private company is launching NASA astronauts to space, as well as the first time in nine years that American astronauts are leaving from U.S. soil.
Since the space shuttle program was retired in 2011, NASA astronauts have been traveling to the International Space Station onboard Russian Soyuz rockets that are launched from Kazakhstan.
— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) May 31, 2020
The astronauts on this mission are Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley. They are expected to spend at least a month – and possibly as long as four months – on the International Space Station.
After NASA declared Saturday’s launch a success, President Trump delivered a speech from the Kennedy Space Center, saying the launch proved that the “commercial space industry was the future” of space exploration.
“We’ll be landing on Mars soon, and we’ll soon have the greatest weapons the world has ever seen,” Trump added.
The Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock with the ISS just before 10:30 a.m. ET Sunday.