Docking manoeuvre: Elon Musk's capsule reaches space station
A privately built capsule with just a test dummy aboard has docked smoothly with the International Space Station in a big step toward putting the US back in the business of launching astronauts.
The Dragon capsule, developed by Elon Musk's SpaceX company under contract to Nasa, automatically hitched up to the orbiting station 400km above the Pacific Ocean. It didn't need the help of the robotic arm normally used to guide spacecraft into position.
Dragon is the first American-made spacecraft capable of carrying a crew to the space station in eight years.
If this six-day test flight goes well, a Dragon capsule could take two Nasa astronauts up this summer.
Ever since Nasa retired the space shuttle in 2011, the US has been hitching rides to and from the space station aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Nasa is also paying two companies - SpaceX and Boeing - to build its next generation of rocket ships.
SpaceX's eight-metre-long capsule rocketed into orbit from Cape Canaveral in Florida with an mannequin nicknamed Ripley - after the main character in the 'Alien' movies - strapped into one of the four seats on board.