It's carrying a dummy named: "Ripley" after Sigourney Weaver's character in the "Alien" Franchise.
Elon Musk's SpaceX was due to launch an unmanned crew capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket early on Saturday, bound for the International Space Station, a major step toward National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) goal of reviving the U.S. human spaceflight programme this year.
Elon Musk, the CEO of US SpaceX aerospace company, said on Friday, after the launch of the SpaceX-manufactured Dragon 2 spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS), that, of all the other stages of the mission, he was most of all anxious about Dragon 2's docking with the ISS and its return to Earth. We went to the moon and we won. After opening its nose cone for navigational purposes, Dragon is now spending about 24 hours performing a series of phasing maneuvers to bring it toward the International Space Station, where it will dock at around 6am ET Sunday.
It will spend five days docked to the orbiting outpost, before making a retro-style splashdown in the Atlantic next Friday - all vital training for the next space demo, possibly this summer, when two astronauts strap in.
NASA's associate administrator for human exploration Bill Gerstenmaier said using a private company for astronaut launches would not compromise on standards. Then comes the real test.
The mission's successful start provided some immediate reassurance.
NASA, however, is expected to schedule one more uncrewed flight of the Crew Dragon before authorizing the two astronauts to fly the capsule to the space station. But over the longer haul, Musk said, he'd like to open Crew Dragon to space tourists as well.
A few minutes after first and second stage separation, the main stage successfully executed a controlled landing on SpaceX's droneship in the Atlantic - the company's 35th successful landing of a rocket booster. It marks the 35th such recovery by SpaceX.
He added: "We are looking forward to being one customer of many customers in a robust commercial marketplace in low-Earth orbit, so we can drive down costs and increase access in ways that, historically, have not been possible". That will be the first launch of American astronauts aboard a USA rocket since the shuttle program ended in 2011. Soyuz tickets have skyrocketed over the years; NASA now pays $82 million per seat.
SpaceX's Crew Dragon began its inaugural test flight early Saturday morning.
But the program has suffered delays as safety requirements are much more stringent for manned flights than for unmanned missions to deploy satellites.