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SpaceX’s Dragon Capsule Successfully Docks With Space Station

October 10, 2012
ISS robotic arm grabs SpaceX Dragon capsule. Credit: NASA

[WATCH The Launch Video]

Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

Expedition 33 Commander Sunita Williams successfully guided the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft into its docking port on the International Space Station´s Harmony node at 9:03 a.m. (EDT) this morning.

Using the ISS´s Canadarm2 robotic arm, Williams and Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide first grabbed Dragon at 6:56 a.m. as it passed within 32 feet of the orbiting lab, some 255 miles above the planet.

Now that docking is complete, Williams and Hoshide will spend the remainder of their workday pressurizing the vestibule between Dragon and the ISS, and also set up power and data cables to prepare for opening of the hatch on Thursday morning.

Main Story…October 10, 2012 7:24 a.m.

After a successful lift-off on Monday (Oct. 8), Space Exploration Technologies´ (SpaceX) Dragon capsule has been caught by the robotic arm on the International Space Station (ISS). The capture marks an historic event in NASA´s commercial spaceflight program, as the Dragon capsule is on the verge of completing the first ever resupply mission by a private firm.

NASA astronaut Sunita Williams and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide captured Dragon using the station´s robotic arm at 6:56 a.m. (ET), ahead of schedule, and were planning their next move: bringing the resupply vessel into dock.

Dragon is stocked with more than 800 pounds of supplies and equipment for the ISS, including crew supplements, scientific research and hardware. Among the stockpile of supplies are also some frivolous goodies for the crew, including ice cream and Silly Putty. The capsule will remain attached to the orbiting lab for 18 days, then will return to Earth with close to 1,700 pounds worth of return supplies.

“Thanks everyone at NASA and SpaceX for bringing her to us“¦ and the ice cream” astronaut Sunita Williams said in the moments after the successful grab. Williams will be responsible for bringing Dragon into its berth.

While the Dragon mission is being hailed as a success, the Falcon 9 launch on Monday was nearly a disaster. A failure in one of the nine engines on the rocket forced the remaining suite of engines to fire for an additional period to compensate for the loss of one. Although the engine failure did not affect the Dragon capsule, it did unfortunately cause a satellite (the Orbcomm OG2), also aboard the rocket, to be “deployed into an orbit that was lower than intended.”

The CRS-1 mission is the first of several planned resupply missions SpaceX will perform for NASA; SpaceX has 12 contracted flights with NASA.

You can watch the docking procedure at the SpaceX website.


Source: Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online



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