SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon crew capsule are scheduled to lift off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center at 02:49 EST Saturday (07:49 GMT). The test dummy - or Smarty as SpaceX likes to call it, given all the instrumentation - is named Ripley after the lead character in the science-fiction "Alien" films.
MARTIN: SpaceX, the space exploration company founded by Elon Musk, developed Crew Dragon, which is the first American spacecraft capable of carrying humans to be launched since NASA stopped developing its own space shuttles in 2011.
Among the estimated 5,000 launch spectators at Kennedy were the two NASA astronauts who will strap in as early as July for the second demo, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken.
The last time USA astronauts were launched from Kennedy Space Center on Florida's Space Coast was in July 2011 aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
"Super high tech zero-g indicator added just before launch!"
Although the contact appeared slow, the ISS and the capsule were moving at more than 27,000km/h in orbit around the Earth.
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"We're going to learn a ton from this mission", said NASA's commercial crew program manager, Kathy Lueders.
"A new generation of space flight starts now with the arrival of @SpaceX's Crew Dragon to the @Space_Station", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted.
In 2014, the U.S. space agency awarded contracts to SpaceX and Boeing for them to take over this task.But the program has suffered delays as safety requirements are much more stringent for manned flights than for unmanned missions to deploy satellites.
"I really believe in the future of space and I think it's important we become a spacefaring civilisation and be out there among the stars, and I think that's one of the things that makes people excited about the future", he said. 'Just one more milestone that gets us ready for our flight'. Astronauts in the USA have been relying on Russian Soyuz rockets since NASA's fleet was retired in 2011, but those seats are costly. When certified to be finally safe for humans, the Crew Dragon has the capacity to carry at most four crew members.
While working to unload some of the cargo beneath the seats inside the Crew Dragon, Saint-Jacques gave the "zero-g indicator" a bump that sent it tumbling around the inside of the spacecraft. They are expected to be on the capsule's crew this summer.
The nosecone of Dragon opened to reveal the docking port and forward-facing Draco thrusters, and the first of a series of burns to gradually match the ISS's orbit was completed.