Dragon 2, also known as Crew Dragon, embarked, atop the Falcon 9 rocket, on its first unmanned test mission to the ISS from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, at 2:49 a.m. EST (07:49 GMT). It is expected to reach the ISS on Sunday.
"Previously, we would go close to the space station, and an [ISS robotic] arm would reach out and grab… Dragon 1 and attach it to the space station. In this case, the spacecraft will fly on to the space station and attach itself. So, that is certainly going to be something new that we haven't done before. And then re-entry," Musk said at a press conference, held in the Kennedy Space Center, when asked which stages of the Dragon 2 mission he worried about most.
Dragon 2 is a reusable spacecraft designed as a successor to the Dragon space freighter.
If successful, the mission launched on Saturday and the upcoming manned launch will allow NASA to certify the new spacecraft for regular flights to the space station.