U.S. astronauts dock at International Space Station

U.S. astronauts, SpaceX dock at International Space Station

The manned SpaceX docked with the International Space Station on Sunday morning, a day after the rocket lifted off and sent two astronauts into space for the first time from the U.S. in almost a decade.

Veteran astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken flew in the first launch of astronauts by a private company, docking at 10:16 a.m. EDT 18 hours, 58 minutes after Saturday’s launch.

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Before opening the hatch and entering the station, Behnken and Hurley will conduct a series of pressure and leak checks to ensure their safety. Then they will join NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and two Russian cosmonauts aboard the station, The Washington Post reported.

The spacecraft made its rendezvous with the space station, which was traveling in an orbit at 17,500 mph, the newspaper reported.

The mission went smoothly, ground officials said, after Saturday’s launch was witnessed by a crowd that included President Donald Trump.

In this image taken from NASA TV video, the SpaceX Dragon crew capsule, with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Robert Behnken aboard, docks with the International Space Station on Sunday morning.
In this image taken from NASA TV video, the SpaceX Dragon crew capsule, with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Robert Behnken aboard, docks with the International Space Station on Sunday morning. (NASA TV via AP)