On Saturday afternoon, SpaceX launched its first human crew for NASA on the company's new Crew Dragon spacecraft – but the mission isn't over yet. After spending almost a full day in orbit, the two passengers aboard the SpaceX vehicle, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, will attempt to dock with the International Space Station this morning.
SpaceX's Crew Dragon has an automatic docking system that uses a number of sensors and cameras to help the vehicle approach the ISS and then access an existing docking port. The Crew Dragon successfully tested this technique last year when SpaceX brought a trial version of the vehicle to the ISS without a crew on board. But this time the Crew Dragon will be transporting very valuable cargo.
While the crew can take Dragon Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the station on their own, the two astronauts plan to fly manually when they approach the ISS. Approximately 220 to 170 meters from the station, the crew practices the manual operation of the capsule over the vehicle's touchscreen surface. Once they're done, the automatic system will take over again and the crew dragon will do the rest of the work to get to the station.
NASA is currently providing 24/7 coverage of the Crew Dragon's mission, but things start this morning when Behnken and Hurley broadcast the Crew Dragon. Docking takes place a few hours later at 10:29 a.m.ET. All events will take place live on the NASA TV stream above.