SpaceX Dragon spacecraft set for historic first test flight tomorrow when it ...

SpaceX is preparing for its first test flight of their Crew Dragon spacecraft which will travel to the International Space Station tomorrow on the company's Falcon 9 rocket.

The unmanned flight will mark the first time a commercially-built American craft designed to carry astronauts will travel to the space station from US soil.

There will be no astronauts aboard but in their place will be a mannequin, named Ripley after the character in the 'Alien' movies, which is equipped with sensors that will provide key data for future manned missions. 

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SpaceX is preparing for its first test flight of its Crew Dragon spacecraft which will fly to the International Space Station tomorrow on the company's Falcon 9 rocket. The unmanned flight will mark the first time a commercially-built American craft designed to carry astronauts will travel to the space station from US soil

SpaceX is preparing for its first test flight of its Crew Dragon spacecraft which will fly to the International Space Station tomorrow on the company's Falcon 9 rocket. The unmanned flight will mark the first time a commercially-built American craft designed to carry astronauts will travel to the space station from US soil

The rocket will launch at 7.79am GMT (2.49am EST) tomorrow from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Florida and is scheduled to dock at the station at around 11.05am GMT (6.05 a.m EST). 

Crew Dragon is part of NASA's $8 billion (£6 bn) Commercial Crew Program, which was created to restore the agency's ability to launch astronauts to the International Space Station.

NASA and SpaceX are working together as public-private partnerships to 'build on the success of American companies already delivering cargo to the space station', NASA wrote in a blog post.

Theyretired its space shuttle program in July 2011 and has been sending astronauts on Russian Soyuz spacecraft since then. 

The test, the first launch of U.S. astronauts from U.S. soil in eight years, will inform the system design, operations and drive any changes that need to be made ahead of crew flights. 

On Thursday, SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, revealed the mannequin has a female body and spacesuit and will serve to verify that the craft is safe to fly astronauts.

Crew Dragon will carry about 400 pounds of crew supplies and equipment to the space station and return some critical research samples to Earth. 

There will be no astronauts aboard but in their place will be a mannequin, named Ripley after the character in the 'Alien' movies, which is equipped with sensors that will provide key data for future missions. The rocket will launch at 7.79am GMT (2.49am EST) tomorrow from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Florida and is scheduled to dock at the station at around 11.05am GMT (6.05 a.m EST)

Crew Dragon is part of NASA's roughly $8 billion Commercial Crew Program, which was created to restore the agency's ability to launch people to the International Space Station. NASA retired its space shuttle program in July 2011, and has been sending astronauts on Russian Soyuz spacecraft since then. It would be the first launch of U.S. astronauts from U.S. soil in eight years

Elon Musk tweeted this image of Ripley, the mannequin named after the lead character in Alien. NASA and SpaceX are working together as public-private partnerships to build on the success of American companies already delivering cargo to the space station, NASA wrote in a blog post

Elon Musk tweeted this image of Ripley, the mannequin named after the lead character in Alien. NASA and SpaceX are working together as public-private partnerships to build on the success of American companies already delivering cargo to the space station, NASA wrote in a blog post

'Demo-1 is a demonstration of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft, ground systems and overall operations - basically just about everything that needs to be operating and operating well before we want to put our astronauts on-board, said the NASA officials in the post.

'Our main

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