SpaceX The astronaut-carried spacecraft Crew Dragon is now docked at the International Space Station in orbit and marks the successful completion of the first phase of its first operational mission. Dragon was certified for manned spaceflight by NASA earlier this month after completing the development and testing program with a successful human demonstration flight in early 2020.
Dragon took off on Sunday evening with four Florida astronauts, including Michael Hopkins from NASA, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi from JAXA. The spaceship then spent a little over a day in orbit, moving into position to hit the space station and prepare for docking. It was completed late Monday evening and acted completely autonomously using SpaceX's automated docking software to connect to the space station new international docking adapter, and then the hatch was opened by the existing ISS crew and the newly arrived team members set off.
Successfully docking and opening the hatch means that SpaceX and NASA have achieved their goals so far with the Commercial Crew program: creating a viable and effective means of getting people from the United States into space and to the ISS. The astronauts on this mission will now spend the next six months with kites at the space station and then expected to return next June in the second and final phase of this inaugural mission, which will prove that the system works for the return to Earth too.