While working to unload some of the cargo beneath the seats inside the Crew Dragon, Saint-Jacques gave the "zero-g indicator" a bump that sent it tumbling around the inside of the spacecraft.
An American-built capsule with just a test dummy aboard docked smoothly with the International Space Station, bringing the U.S. a step closer to getting back in the business of launching astronauts.
The rendezvous with the orbiting lab marks the first time that Crew Dragon, created to eventually carry astronauts, has ever flown and raises the stakes for rival Boeing Co, which also has a contract with Nasa as part of what is known as the agency's "Commercial Crew" programme. Astronauts onboard the space station are completing checks ahead of opening the capsule's hatch and welcoming its only passenger, dummy Ripley. If that final phase of the test goes well, NASA astronauts could be heading into space aboard non-NASA rockets as soon as summer 2019.
At about 5:00 EST (10:00 UTC), Crew Dragon reached Waypoint 1, a spot 150 meters away from the station's forward docking port on Node 2, also known as Harmony.More news: Pakistan Lived Up To Its Public Commitment but India Averted
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No one was aboard the Dragon capsule launched Saturday on its first test flight, only an instrumented dummy.
NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and docking began at 03:30 EST (08:30 UTC), in the middle of the night here in the USA, with Dragon roughly 2.5 kilometers behind and 7.5 kilometers above the ISS.
If all goes well, the completion of the test mission will instill confidence in NASA, SpaceX and even the astronauts slated to go on the first crewed mission - the first from USA soil in eight years - that Elon Musk's SpaceX can perform the task. That schedule may slip, however, depending on how much more the Dragon needs to be tweaked after the uncrewed test flight.
Since then, NASA and partner astronauts from the European Space Agency, Canada and Japan have been forced to hitch rides to the station aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft at a current cost of more than $80 million a seat.
Next up, though, should be Boeing, NASA's other commercial crew provider.
The Dragon capsule will remain on the ISS until Friday before detaching to splash down in the Atlantic. Boeing is looking to launch its Starliner capsule without a crew as early as April and with a crew possibly in August. Russian aircraft are the ones to ferry astronauts to the station. In SpaceX's case, NASA has agreed to pay $2.6 billion for six round trips.