SpaceX launches latest test flight with a life-sized crash dummy named Ripley

"SpaceX's Crew Dragon, created to transport astronauts to the International Space Station from US soil, is flying on its own in orbit following an on-time launch".

Crew Dragon capsule, the company's very first vehicle created to carry people to space, is on the verge of flying humans to space, with a critical test flight underway.

A SpaceX rocket with a newly designed unmanned crew capsule blasted off on Saturday for the International Space Station, in a key milestone for Elon Musk's space company and NASA's long-delayed goal to resume human spaceflight from US soil later this year.

SpaceX's capsule is now en route to the International Space Station, which flies about 254 miles above Earth at tremendous speeds: about 10 times faster than a bullet.

But the lessons learned should improve safety when two NASA astronauts strap into a Dragon as early as July. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. - The United States space program took a significant step toward returning human spaceflight to American soil after a SpaceX rocket successfully blasted off from a historic launch pad here early Saturday. The big first is whether the capsule's autonomous systems can maneuver and dock with the station.

SpaceX has made 16 space station deliveries over the past seven years.

The Crew Dragon launched lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 7.49 am GMT, (2.49am EST). The SpaceX company employees cheered until the capsule reached orbit. "This first launch of a space system designed for humans built and operated by a commercial company through a public-private partnership is a revolutionary step on our path to get humans to the Moon, Mars and beyond". "It's different", said Mark Geyer, director of the Johnson Space Center, where USA astronauts are based.

Boeing aims to conduct the first test flight of its Starliner capsule in April, with astronauts on board possibly in August. But he stressed it was more important to move deliberately so "we get it right".

Now that Demo-1 is in space, the next phase of its mission begins.

Boeing is also in the race to end NASA's eight-year drought of launching USA astronauts on US rockets from USA soil. He marvels at how the Dragon has just 30 buttons and touch screens, compared with the space shuttle cockpit's 2,000 switches and circuit breakers.

Bridenstine said he was "100 per cent confident" those flights would happen this year. Musk said the redesigned capsule has "hardly a part in common" with its predecessor. SpaceX and Boeing originally planned to make their first flights with people within a few years of receiving the contracts but both programs faced technical challenges and funding issues from Congress.

The docking port itself is new and has never been used.

At the press conference, Musk asked the two NASA astronauts slated to fly in Dragon: "You guys think it's a good vehicle?"

Vanessa Coleman