The rocket lifted off at 2:49 a.m. EST.
The SpaceX rocket took off this morning from Florida carrying only a test dummy. Today, SpaceX launched a new Crew Dragon capsule to demonstrate their readiness for manned spaceflight. The Crew Dragon capsule is expected to arrive at the space station on Sunday (March 3) at around 6:05 a.m. ET. It will remain docked until Friday, when it will disengage and head for a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean 230 miles east of Cape Canaveral. "We have to dock to the station. But it worked - so far". The US space shuttle program ended in 2011, and NASA has paid Russian Federation about $80 million per seat to send American astronauts to space aboard Soyuz rockets.
For SpaceX, sending an astronaut into orbit would be a culmination of years of hard work and high-risk investment. "I went over and asked what they thought, and how they felt about flying on it", Musk said. It's big news because this is the first time a commercial interest has launched a spacecraft that was built to carry humans. But he stressed there's no rush.
The space agency said in a statement last month that it has "confidence" the companies will be ready in 2019 and said the additional Soyuz contracts are meant to provide "flexibility and back-up" options. "That race is over". "Right now, the date is July and that's what we're planning for, but if we change that date we'll make sure people know when it's the right time". Dragon 1 and attach it to the space station.
It features four seats, three windows, touch-screen computer displays and life-support equipment, as well as eight abort engines to pull the capsule to safety in the event of a launch emergency.
Dragon 2 is a reusable spacecraft designed as a successor to the Dragon space freighter.
No one is onboard the craft for the test flight with the exception of a test dummy named Ripley.
The capsule successfully separated from the rocket about 11 minutes later, sparking cheers in the control room, and began its journey to the space station. Previous Dragon vehicles have been grabbed and hauled to the docking port by the station's robotic arm. "We're pretty good at throwing things into space".
The objective is to make the next demo flight, with Hurley and Behnken, as safe as possible.
Bridenstine said he was "100 per cent confident" those flights would happen this year.
Saturday's flight "is the next critical step in putting people on Dragon", he said. Musk jokingly said they better wait a week, until the Dragon returns, before responding.