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SpaceX’s Test-Launch of the Crew Dragon

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On Saturday, March 2nd, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from the 39A launch complex at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This was the first uncrewed test flight of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

The Crew Dragon contains a device known as Ripley, which allows researchers to analyze flight effects on astronauts using the machine’s sensors.

The first test flight’s purpose is to gather data regarding the Falcon 9’s functionality, Crew Dragon’s ground systems, and in-orbit, docking, and landing operations. The data will be administered to validate SpaceX’s crew transportation system.

For the first time since 2011 with the termination of the Shuttle Program, NASA is collaborating with American companies to eventually send American astronauts to space.

The Crew Dragon carried 400 pounds of crew supplies and equipment to the International Space Station. The spacecraft will return with research samples.

According to a NASA press release, “For the first time in history, a commercially-built and operated American crew spacecraft and rocket, which launched from American soil, is on its way to the International Space Station.”

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