It was Crew Dragon's first test flight and the first launch of NASA's commercial crew program - a public-private partnership in which the agency awarded SpaceX and Boeing Co. a combined $6.8 billion in contracts to build separate spacecraft that will take NASA astronauts to the space station.
During their mission, the station crew will take part in about 250 research investigations and technology demonstrations not possible on Earth to advance scientific knowledge of Earth, space, physical, and biological sciences, NASA said.
"Crew Dragon" was launched on March 2nd and is an unmanned mission that will be transporting 400 pounds of "supplies and equipment to the Space Station".
The Crew Dragon capsule was carrying a dummy astronaut, an "anthropomorphic test device" named Ripley after the lead character played by Sigourney Weaver in the Alien film series. They burst into applause again, several minutes later, when the Dragon's latches were tightly secured.
"Welcome to the new era in spaceflight", McClain said from inside Dragon. The spacecraft is expected to undock on March 8 and splash down in the Atlantic Ocean after its descent by the parachute.
After launch, the Falcon 9 rocket booster used to deliver the craft to space returned and was recovered by the SpaceX drone ship called "Of Course I Still Love You".More news: Trump Complains of 'Presidential Harassment' by 'Crazed Democrats'
This time, the capsule gradually maneuvered closer to the station before docking on its own. There was an opportunity that the Crew Dragon, which Russian area operators warned didn't have a backup docking system, would fail to efficiently connect to the station. Currently, Russian Soyuz rockets are the only means by which to reach the space station, and NASA, according to the AP, pays $82 million per seat.
If the spacecraft's descent proceeds in a normal regime, it will travel to the orbital outpost with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on its board in July.
The Crew Dragon craft launching from the Florida coast bound for the ISS. Boeing is looking to launch its Starliner capsule without a crew as early as April and with a crew possibly in August. The version designed for humans is slightly bigger and safer.
Expedition 58 crew members enter the SpaceX Crew Dragon for the first time.
It can carry as many as seven people and has three windows, emergency-abort engines that can pull the capsule to safety, and streamlined controls, with just 30 buttons and touch screens, compared with the space shuttle cockpit's 2,000 switches and circuit breakers.