SpaceX celebrates Crew Dragon's 1st launch anniversary with epic video

One year ago today, SpaceX took a giant leap forward for private spaceflight with the launch of its first Crew Dragon to the International Space Station and the company is celebrating that feat with an epic new video. 

The new video, which SpaceX shared on YouTube and Twitter, shows the company's first Crew Dragon spacecraft launched on the Demo-1 mission from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission, an uncrewed test flight, launched a spacesuit-clad dummy named Ripley and an adorable Celestial Buddy Earth plush toy to the station. 

"On March 2, 2019, Falcon 9 launched Crew Dragon on its first demonstration mission, and the next day it became the first American spacecraft to autonomously dock with the International Space Station," SpaceX said in a YouTube description. "After its stay at the space station, the spacecraft successfully splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean, completing its mission and demonstrating SpaceX's capabilities to safely and reliably fly astronauts to and from the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program."

Related: SpaceX's Crew Dragon Demo-1 test flight in pictures

The new video lasts just 2 minutes and 20 seconds, but covers the full six-day test flight for Crew Dragon's Demo-1 mission. 

A Falcon 9 rocket launched the mission on March 2, with Crew Dragon arriving at the station a day later on March 3. On March 8, 2019, Crew Dragon returned to Earth with a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean, where it was plucked from the sea by SpaceX's GO Searcher recovery ship.

SpaceX is one two companies tapped by NASA to fly astronauts to and from the space station as part of the multi-billion-dollar contracts under the agency's Commercial Crew program. (The other company is Boeing and its Starliner spacecraft.)

While SpaceX's first Crew Dragon capsule (the one that flew the Demo-1 mission) was destroyed in April 2019 during abort system ground tests, the company has since successfully launched a second Crew Dragon on an in-flight abort test that demonstrated the vehicle's launch escape system in January of this year. 

The company now aims to launch its first human crew, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, later this year, possibly in May.

SpaceX's next launch will be the uncrewed Dragon CRS-20 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. That flight is scheduled to launch late Friday (March 6). 

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.

  • Sarge
    I am former USAF Security Forces Staff Sergeant and 919th Special Operations and I want to go into space how do I apply for 2021's mission???