Historic SpaceX Capsule 'Endeavour' Docks at The International Space Station

The historic SpaceX capsule has docked at the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday morning, less than 24 hours after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, was scheduled to dock into the orbiting platform at around 10:30 a.m. ET.

But the capsule reached the station around 15 minutes ahead of schedule, with SpaceX confirming in a livestream that the capsule docked at 10:16 a.m. ET.

The docking was fully automated, but the astronauts had slipped back into their pressurized launch suits and shutting their helmet visors for the docking in case of a problem.

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"Welcome home @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug! America's two favorite dads in space have docked to the @Space_Station," NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted after the spacecraft docked.

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Elon Musk's SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the astronauts from Kennedy Space Center at 3:22 p.m. ET on Saturday, marking the first time in the history of human spaceflight that a private company has launched people into orbit.

The launch is also the first manned mission to soar into space from U.S. soil in almost a decade. The company's original May 27 launch had been postponed due to bad weather and other poor launch conditions.

Hurley, 53, a retired Marine, and Behnken, 49, an Air Force colonel, will spend between one to four months aboard the ISS with a crew of three who guided them into the station.

Sometime in the summer, they'll return to Earth in a splashdown off the coast of Florida.

"Upon splashdown just off Florida's Atlantic Coast, Dragon and the astronauts will be quickly recovered by SpaceX's Go Navigator recovery vessel and returned to Cape Canaveral," the SpaceX website says.

After liftoff on Saturday, billionaire Musk told reporters the capsule's return will be more dangerous than its launch in some ways.

But he added that the launch was "hopefully the first step on a journey toward a civilization on Mars."

The mission comes as the U.S. copes with two crises simultaneously—with more than 100,000 people dead amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and a week of growing unrest over the death of George Floyd, a black man, in police custody, sparking violent clashes between police and protesters across the country.

SpaceX
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the manned Crew Dragon spacecraft attached takes off from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Historic SpaceX Capsule 'Endeavour' Docks at The International Space Station | News