A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying two NASA astronauts docked Sunday with the International Space Station, the first time a crewed U.S. spacecraft has performed the feat in almost a decade. It was the first time a private company put a human into orbit.
SpaceX's Demo-2 mission docks with the International Space Station at 10:16 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) around 15 minutes ahead of the schedule.
"This was just one effort that we can show for the ages in this dark time that we've had over the past several months to kind of inspire, especially the young people in the United States, to reach for these lofty goals", he said.
Their successful arrival on the ISS marks a pivotal moment for Elon Musk's SpaceX, which built and guided the Crew Dragon spacecraft, and the Falcon 9 rocket which powered the guys into the sky.
Crew Dragon then made a "hard capture", which involved using 12 latches to create an air-locked seal between Behnken and Hurley's crew cabin and their entrance to the space station and linked up Crew Dragon's power supply to the ISS.
"This is hopefully the first step on a journey towards civilisation on Mars".
Elon Musk's SpaceX has heralded a new era of spaceflight, becoming the first private enterprise to launch humans into orbit on the powerful Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday.
SpaceX, the private rocket company of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, launched two Americans into orbit from Florida on Saturday in a landmark mission marking the first spaceflight of NASA astronauts from US soil in nine years. SpaceX and NASA will determine the duration of their stay after they assess the condition of the Crew Dragon spacecraft in orbit as well as the Crew Dragon that will fly the Crew-1 mission this summer.
The SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft made its "soft capture" docking with the International Space Station at 10:16 am ET after an nearly 19-hour journey to the orbiting space lab.
Musk, the founder of PayPal and the electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, was emotional at a press conference following the launch, which was attended by Donald Trump and Mike Pence, the United States vice-president.
"I know most of you, at SpaceX especially, know it as "Capsule 206, ' but I think all of us thought that maybe we could do a little bit better than that", Hurley said during the live broadcast".
On the final flight of the space shuttle, the crew chose an eclectic mix, including Elton John's "Rocket Man", R.E.M.'s "Man on the Moon" and "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles.
US-Russia cooperation is not expected to end once Crew Dragon goes into service.
Ever since shuttering its space shuttle program in 2011, NASA has relied on Russian Federation and its Soyuz spacecraft to ferry American astronauts to and from the ISS - a service that hasn't come cheap what with each seat costing roughly $US80 ($120) million.