SpaceX’s unmanned Dragon space capsule completed its first test before its scheduled docking at the International Space Station, NASA said Wednesday.
The test flight was launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket which blasted off before dawn Tuesday from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. With its successful launch, SpaceX, owned by the billionaire Internet entrepreneur, Elon Musk has completely dispelled doubts about commercial space travel.
The bid has also propelled the company even further ahead in the race to fill the void left by NASA after it retired its space shuttle fleet in July last year.
NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, that directs all ISS missions and activities was quoted saying by a news agency, “So far everything is going as planned”.
Humphries said the capsule has completed the first part of its demonstration flight, including navigating with the Absolute GPS system, an abort demonstration and a demonstration of free drift, a mode often used when interacting with the ISS.
As per schedule, the capsule is slated to depart to the Earth by the end of this month, when it will look out to make a safe landing in the Pacific Ocean off the California coast.