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SpaceX Capsule Successfully Arrives At International Space Station

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It is fair to say that a new era in human spaceflight began yesterday. A SpaceX capsule called Crew Dragon docked with the International Space Station.

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ANNE MCCLAIN: Houston, station, Dragon hatch opened at 1307.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

That's American astronaut Anne McClain speaking during a live-streamed welcome ceremony.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MCCLAIN: Today human advancement of exploration continues, as the first new space vehicle designed for humans in over 40 years arrived at our front door.

GREENE: First in over 40 years. The space shuttle is more than 40 years old and is now out of action. This new vehicle carried cargo and a human dummy, named Ripley. The name came from Sigourney Weaver's character in the movie "Alien."

INSKEEP: The living astronauts in the space station marked its arrival.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MCCLAIN: Our sincere congratulations to all earthlings who have enabled the opening of this next chapter in space exploration. Spaceflight gives us a chance to reflect on the context of our existence. We're reminded that we are human before any of our differences, before all of the lines that are drawn that divide us. And we are reminded that we're at our best when we are part of something bigger than ourselves.

INSKEEP: Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, which built this craft for the U.S. government, spoke after the launch.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ELON MUSK: To be frank, I'm a little emotionally exhausted because that was super stressful, but it worked - so far.

INSKEEP: So far, he says. Next comes the vehicle's final test, returning to Earth for a splashdown in the Atlantic, which is scheduled for Friday morning. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.