In the meantime, three Expedition 58 crew members living aboard the space station - NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko - have adopted "little Earthy" as an unofficial rookie in training.
Another goal of the U.S. is to stop their dependence on Russian "Soyuz" rockets and since the success of SpaceX's "Crew Dragon", NASA has awarded SpaceX and Boeing Co a total of $US6.8 billion to build a competing rocket and capsule system.
About 6 hours after departing the space station, Crew Dragon splashed down at 8:45 a.m. EST approximately 230 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
SpaceX's Crew Dragon craft successfully splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean on March 8 following a test flight to the International Space Station.
SpaceX launched a plush Earth doll aboard its Crew Dragon spaceship in March 2019. After the landing, it was retrieved by the company's Go Searcher recovery ship. It's a huge step forward for NASA for the International Space Program. The Dragon linked with the station autonomously, being the first American spacecraft ever to do so in this manner.
First autonomous docking of a US spacecraft to the International Space Station.
Called Crew Dragon, the vehicle landed in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday, following a six-day mission in orbit.
"We were all very excited to see re-entry, parachute and drogue deploy, main deploy, splashdown - everything happened just perfectly".
Crew Dragon carried a passenger on this flight test - a lifelike test device named Ripley, which was outfitted with sensors to provide data about potential effects on humans traveling in the spacecraft.
Boeing's Starliner crew capsule is poised to launch its maiden unmanned mission in April ahead of an August test flight carrying US astronauts Michael Fincke, Chris Ferguson and Nicole Mann.
The goal of this mission was to test that the capsule's in-flight systems would perform as intended and if it could dock with the ISS by itself, among other things, all of which would ensure that the capsule would be capable of carrying a human crew in the near future.
The Crew Dragon during atmospheric re-entry. Demo-2, the first crewed test flight, will carry NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on the spacecraft's final flight to certify Crew Dragon for routine operational missions.
"I don't think we saw really anything in the mission so far - we've got to do the data reviews - that would preclude us from having a crewed mission later this year", Stich said. "I'm, personally, very anxious to hear how Ripley is feeling after they pull her out of the capsule and get her onto the recovery vehicle".