The uncrewed mission of Crew Dragon capsule, built by SpaceX with the support of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), docked to the ISS over the weekend, marking the first time a US spacecraft had reached the orbital station since the Space Shuttle Program was shut in 2011. It was carrying about 400 pounds of supplies for the ISS and a space-suited dummy named Ripley, which is "fitted with sensors around the head, neck and spine to record everything an astronaut would experience throughout the mission".
As well as having seven seats, the Crew Dragon has a life-support system and a touch-screen console for astronauts to use. The educational stuffed toy will remain on the space station while it's ride returns to Earth. The capsule will undock from the International Space Station at 2:31 a.m. EST. During its five-day stay, USA astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques ran tests and inspected Crew Dragon's cabin.More news: Goodyear's newest tire is for flying cars
NASA kicked off its live coverage on Thursday when the ISS crew closed the hatch leading to the capsule.
Where to watch: NASA will stream the undocking and landing at NASA.gov beginning at 2 a.m. Crew Dragon is now whirling through orbit and is scheduled to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean around 8:45 am ET after spending six days in space for the uncrewed demonstration mission.
What's at stake: While NASA hasn't reported any issues for the first part of Crew Dragon's test flight but the spacecraft must also do well through the descent.More news: U.S. Okays use of ketamine-Derived Nasal Spray To Treat Depression
In 2014, NASA awarded contracts to SpaceX and Boeing to develop spacecraft to launch USA astronauts.
But Elon Musk's space exploration company is one step ahead of Boeing, as it will get key data from this demo mission to make final adjustments ahead of its inaugural crewed flight. But now, SpaceX has taken a major leap forward and is poised to fly its first test mission with two NASA astronauts on board later this year.
The Crew Dragon launch was part of a United States attempt to wean itself off its reliance on Russian help. The company plans to send astronauts onboard the Crew Dragon as early as this summer.More news: Khloé Kardashian apparently still wants Tristan at True's birthday party