SpaceX's Crew Dragon Ready for Debut Flight On March 2

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(NASA via AP) A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a demo Crew Dragon spacecraft lifts off from pad 39A on an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Saturday, March 2, 2019. The test dummy - or Smarty as SpaceX likes to call it, given all the instrumentation - is named Ripley after the lead character in the science-fiction "Alien" films. Approximately 11 minutes after a successful launch, the Crew Dragon spacecraft separated from the rocket's upper stage.

As the Dragon capsule approached the ISS its nose cap, which is shaped in the form of a dragon maw, began to open to release the docking mechanism. Mythical beast will disengage itself from the space station next Friday and sprinkle down in the Atlantic Ocean, its plummet hindered by four parachutes.

"I'm a little emotionally exhausted because that was super stressful, but it worked", he told reporters after Saturday's launch.

Both companies are working with NASA to help bring launches of American astronauts back to the United States.

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"We're on the precipice of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil again for the first time since the retirement of the space shuttles in 2011".

Soon after, the company of star entrepreneur Elon Musk hailed the successful arrival on Twitter as "a first for a commercially built and operated spacecraft designed for crew!"

The launch systems are aimed at ending USA reliance on Russian rockets for rides to the $100 billion orbital research laboratory, which flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, at about $80 million per ticket. According to a recent statement from Musk at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, "People have gone to space station on Soyuz", which is in reference to the very small amount of Russian civilians who have paid between $20-$40 million to travel to Russia's "Soyuz" spacecraft. "Congratulations to all for this historic achievement getting us closer to flying American Astronauts on American rockets". Soyuz tickets have skyrocketed over the years; NASA now pays $82 million per seat. But he stressed there's no rush.

NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine: "What today really represents is a new era in spaceflight - an era where we are looking forward to being one customer as an agency and as a country, in a robust commercial marketplace in low-Earth orbit". "That race is over".

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