Tracking the Crew Dragon: Docking with the ISS

The new spacecraft has officially reached its destination.
Sign up for the Freethink Weekly newsletter!
A collection of our favorite stories straight to your inbox

On May 30, SpaceX and NASA made history, using a commercial spacecraft — the Crew Dragon — to transport astronauts into space for the first time.

But that remarkable achievement was only the beginning of the Demo-2 mission. Before it could be considered a success, the Crew Dragon needed to safely dock with the International Space Station and then bring the astronauts back home to Earth.

On May 31, the mission nailed that second goal, with the Crew Dragon docking with the ISS at 10:16 a.m. EDT so that astronauts Robert “Bob” Behnken and Douglas “Doug” Hurley could join the three astronauts already onboard.

“It flew just like it was supposed to,” Hurley said of the 19-hour Crew Dragon journey. “It’s exactly like the simulator, and we couldn’t be happier about the performance of the vehicle.”

Behnken and Hurley will remain onboard the ISS for anywhere from one to four months before attempting the final milestone in the Demo-2 mission: the safe return to Earth.

Until then, check out the videos and photos of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon docking below.

We’d love to hear from you! If you have a comment about this article or if you have a tip for a future Freethink story, please email us at [email protected].

T-Minus: SpaceX’s Starship vs. Boeing’s Starliner
A breakdown of SpaceX’s Starship, Boeing’s Starliner, and what they mean for the future of space exploration at NASA.
T-Minus: How will solar storms affect Mars astronauts?
Freethink’s breakdown of the biggest space news, featuring NASA’s efforts to protect astronauts from intense solar storms.
T-Minus: How to not die on (the way to) Mars
A breakdown of the five biggest threats to future Mars astronauts and what NASA scientists are doing to overcome each one.
Life on Mars, together
Researchers spent two weeks at the Mars Desert Research Station conducting an analog mission for potential future trips to Mars.
NASA hopes private space companies can rescue its $11 billion Mars rock mission
If this ambitious NASA mission unraveled, scientists would lose their chance to learn much more about the red planet.
Up Next
Crew Dragon Liftoff
Subscribe to Freethink for more great stories