SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule has successfully completed its first flight to the International Space Station and landed safely in the Atlantic Ocean as per plans. NASA had retired its space shuttle in 2011 and ever since, had to depend on Russia for ferrying astronauts to the ISS. It was a costly affair and the American space agency began looking around for a way out. NASA wanted the private sector to be responsible for developing suitable hardware for such missions and Elon Musk came up with a solution.

His SpaceX created the Crew Dragon capsule that has helped add to the confidence level of NASA and the space fraternity.

CNN reports that SpaceX launched the Crew Dragon capsule on Saturday morning. It had a load of supplies for the ISS apart from a space-suited dummy Ripley with sensors installed all over its body to record various parameters for ensuring the safety of astronauts.

SpaceX and Boeing are the new players

NASA zeroed on two private players, SpaceX and Boeing, to develop suitable vehicles and have contracts with them that run into billions of dollars.

SpaceX has already built and flown the Crew Dragon capsule while Boeing’s Starliner is still waiting to fly. As things stand, Elon Musk is ahead of Boeing but NASA is hopeful that both could begin flying crews in 2019. SpaceX has transported supplies to the ISS by using reusable rockets.

CNN says once Crew Dragon's emergency abort system gets the seal of approval in June, the first crewed mission could happen in July.

SpaceX has perfected landing its vehicle on water but others like Russia's veteran Soyuz capsule and Boeing's forthcoming Starliner prefer to land on firm ground.

There are three astronauts on board the International Space Station at present. They are an American, a Canadian and a Russian. Three more crew members will arrive there aboard a Russian Soyuz crew capsule next week, on March 14. They are a Russian cosmonaut and two NASA astronauts and they will relieve the ones already there.

Doors open up for commercialization

According to BBC, the success of SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner paves the way for commercial applications. This is America's new commercial astronaut capsule and the concept of the International Space Station handling all aspects of space research could soon change when more players enter the scene. Anyone who can afford to pay up can hire the services that will be on offer.

After retiring its shuttle, NASA was hiring seats from Russia on its Soyuz spacecraft. The space agency will now buy seats from SpaceX and Boeing.

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