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    An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a Dragon capsule sits on launch pad 40 after a scrubbed launch attempt

    Trump Congratulates NASA, SpaceX on Successful Dragon 2 Launch to ISS (VIDEO)

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump has congratulated the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and private US aerospace manufacturer SpaceX on the successful launch of Dragon 2 spacecraft for its first unmanned test mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

    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) on Saturday. It is expected to reach the ISS later on Sunday.

    SpaceX CEO Elon Musk thanked Trump for the congratulation and also expressed gratitude to NASA.

    Under a contract with NASA, SpaceX developed Crew Dragon on the basis of Dragon cargo ship, which flies to the ISS since 2012. The company sent the spacecraft for its first unmanned test mission with a dummy, named Ripley, on board.

    The United States has not launched astronauts from its soil since 2011, when the Space Shuttle program ended. Currently, it is Russian-made spaceships Soyuz that delivers US astronauts to the ISS.

    In 2014, NASA signed contracts with private companies SpaceX and Boeing to create a manned spacecraft and ensure the delivery of astronauts to the ISS. The dates of the start of flights by both companies were repeatedly postponed.

    According to the latest data, Crew Dragon will perform its first manned test mission in July. Starliner spacecraft, which is being constructed by Boeing, is expected to perform an unmanned flight to the ISS in April, while a manned flight is slated for summer.

    READ MORE: NASA to Work With Russia on Concerns Over Planned Crew Dragon Flight to ISS


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