NASA and SpaceX have pulled off a historic launch, with Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon taking off from Launch Pad 39a of NASA Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Crew Dragon has embarked on what is a near-24 hour journey that will take NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Center, after its May 27 launch was cancelled due to bad weather. The launch sequence was executed perfectly, with the Crew Dragon launching atop the Falcon 9 and heading into orbit.
SpaceX has also succeeded in retrieving the booster stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, which separated from the rest of the rocket minutes into lift-off. The booster stage rocket then re-entered Earth and landed back on the SpaceX drone ship 'Of Course I Still Love You', all in a smooth sequence. The next sequence of the mission went smoothly as well, with the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket separating according to schedule, leaving Crew Dragon on its gradual trajectory to the ISS.
In the next course of events, Crew Dragon will now fire its engines in a series of sequences to bring it up to altitude with the ISS, and then begin its approach to the ISS. It will then cross over the Keep-Out Zone of the ISS and begin a slow, sequential approach to docking. Once it reaches the aligned axis, it will attempt to dock with the ISS at PMA-2 of the Station's Harmony module. The entire process until docking will take close to 24 hours.
While this will conclude the first phase of the mission, Crew Dragon's Demo-2 mission will also include bringing Behnken and Hurley back to Earth, which can be anytime between one and four months. On its way back, Crew Dragon will lose its 'trunk' in a bid to offload some weight, before re-entering Earth and splashing back on the sea. On this occasion, SpaceX's Go Navigator search and rescue ship will be on hand to retrieve the astronauts and bring them back to ground station.
Follow this space for further updates about Crew Dragon's journey to the ISS, and its eventual docking sequence.