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article imageHumans enter SpaceX Crew Dragon in space for first time

By Karen Graham     Mar 3, 2019 in Technology
Humans have entered SpaceX's Crew Dragon while in orbit for the first time, just hours after the commercial spacecraft docked at the International Space Station on Sunday morning.
SpaceX's Crew Dragon crew capsule successfully dock at the International Space Station (ISS) at 5:51 a.m. EST (1051 GMT) Sunday morning, March 3, 2019, about 27 hours after launching into orbit from NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
Crew Dragon linked up with the docking port on the space station's Harmony module as the two spacecraft sailed 250 miles (402 kilometers) over the Pacific Ocean over New Zealand, according to Space.com.
"Congratulations to all the teams on a successful docking," NASA astronaut Anne McClain radioed Mission Control from aboard the space station. She and her Expedition 58 crew-mates, David Saint-Jacques of Canada and Oleg Konenko of Russia, followed the docking closely.
Not only did the crew aboard ISS watch the docking closely, but two handpicked space travelers, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, watched the Crew Dragon launch from Florida, then traveled to Hawthorne to see operations unfold along with the SpaceX team, according to NASA.
Opening the hatch
NASA astronaut Anne McClain, looking through the hatch window before the crew entered the capsule, radioed Mission Control that "Everything looks great," adding "Ripley and Earth both look like they enjoyed their trip up here."
At 8:07 a.m. EST (1307 GMT), the ISS crew opened the hatch to Crew Dragon for the first time and floated inside, with SpaceX beaming live views of the capsule's interior, where the dummy astronaut Ripley and a Celestial Buddies Earth plush toy awaited the astronauts.
This was the first time anything has passed through that hatch since the Space Shuttle Atlantis docked to the ISS in 2011. In itself, the opening of the hatch is a milestone for the two private space companies, SpaceX with its Crew Dragon, and Boeing's Starliner, that NASA has chosen to begin ferrying astronauts to space as part of its Commercial Crew program.
The hatch opening is also an affirmation of NASA's new priorities under Jim Bridenstine - who has made returning crewed launches to the ISS from U.S. soil a top priority. "This is unbelievable news for everyone here at SpaceX and at NASA," SpaceX software engineer Tom Praderio said during live NASA TV commentary from SpaceX's mission control center.
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