SpaceX Crew Dragon docks with International Space Station ia/jm

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Washington (AFP)

A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying two NASA astronauts docked Sunday with the International Space Station, the first time a crewed US spacecraft has performed the feat in nearly a decade.

"Soft capture," the moment when the spacecraft makes first contact and starts latching with the target vehicle, occurred at 10:16 am Eastern Time (1416 GMT).

It was followed a few minutes later by "hard capture" when an airtight seal was completed.

On board are astronauts Bob Behnkhen and Doug Hurley, both veterans of the Space Shuttle program that was shuttered in 2011.

"We copy docking is complete," said a member of the crew.

"It's been a real honor to be a small part of this nine year endeavor since the last time a United States spaceship has docked with the International Space Station."

Next, the vestibule between the Dragon and the International Space Station will be pressurized and the hatch will then be opened, in about an hour.