Space Station Astronauts Capture SpaceX Dragon Capsule
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — Following a one day delay to allow time for SpaceX to workout issues with Dragon’s thruster pods, the payload capsule successfully rendezvoused with the International Space Station early Sunday morning.
The International Space Station Expedition 34 crew successfully grappled the SpaceX Dragon capsule with the station’s robotic CANADA arm at 5:31 a.m. EST.
The SpaceX Dragon capsule was berthed to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 8:56 a.m. EST. The hatch between the newly arrived spacecraft and the Harmony module of the space station is scheduled to be opened tomorrow.
The capsule is filled with about 1,200 pounds of supplies for the space station crew and experiments being conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory.
The SpaceX Dragon capsule is scheduled to spend 22 days attached to the station while astronauts unload the cargo and reload the Dragon with experiment samples for return to Earth.
Dragon is scheduled to return to Earth for a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California. It will be bringing back more than 2,300 pounds of experiment samples and equipment.
The mission is the second of 12 SpaceX flights contracted by NASA to resupply the International Space Station. It will mark the third trip by a Dragon capsule to the orbiting laboratory, following a demonstration flight in May 2012 and the first resupply mission in October 2012.
PHOTO: The Dragon spacecraft stands inside a processing hangar at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station where teams had just installed the spacecraft’s solar array fairings on Jan. 12, 2013. Image credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
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