A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying two NASA astronauts docked Sunday with the International Space Station, the first time a crewed US spacecraft has performed the feat in nearly a decade.
It was also a first for the private sector, a triumphant moment for the company founded by Elon Musk in 2002. NASA hopes to build on such partnerships to usher in a new era of space travel.
“Soft capture,” the moment when the spacecraft makes first contact and starts latching with the target vehicle, occurred at 10:16 am Eastern Time (1416 GMT), a little ahead of schedule.
At the time, the ISS was orbiting 422 kilometres over the border between Mongolia and northern China.
A few minutes later, “hard capture” was achieved when the two spacecraft were joined with an airtight seal.