A new-generation SpaceX capsule autonomously docked with the International Space Station, in a successful test of the safety and reliability of computers and maneuvering systems deemed essential to carry U.S. astronauts on future missions.
The goal of the flight was to test navigational equipment, automated flight-control features, and laser-assisted positioning hardware.
After liftoff from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, the Crew Dragon capsule—containing a mannequin with sensors that recorded environmental changes and forces—executed a faster-than-usual maneuver to the docking point.
U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and SpaceX officials said the extra acceleration was necessary to prevent certain thruster parts from freezing and potentially breaking off.
Additional testing will be conducted before the capsule's splashdown, as NASA works toward privatizing human transportation to low Earth orbit and eventually to the Moon's surface.
From The Wall Street Journal
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