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SpaceX Dragon Capsule Docks at Space Station [Updated]

Dragon capsule (SpaceX Corp.)

Dragon capsule (SpaceX Corp.)

Update: 31 May 2012

NASA reports that the SpaceX Dragon capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 11:42 a.m. EDT a few hundred miles west of Baja California, Mexico, marking the completion of the first mission by a commercial company to resupply the International Space Station. The capsule earlier began a 9-minute, 50-second deorbit burn at 10:51 a.m. to decelerate the spacecraft and begin its return to Earth. The space station crew decoupled the capsule from the station at at 5:49 a.m. EDT.

Original post:

NASA reports that the International Space Station’s crew captured and attached SpaceX’s Dragon capsule to the space station at 12:02 pm ET today. The docking is the first time a commercial company has berthed a space vehicle to the station.

The Dragon capsule lifted off Tuesday from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Following a fly-under of the space station on Thursday, the Dragon capsule was cleared by NASA to approach the station Friday. Dragon then performed a series of intricate test maneuvers as it approached the orbiting laboratory.

The capsule then approached and entered the berthing area of the station, where it was grappled by NASA astronaut Don Pettit using the station’s robotic arm. European Space Agency’s Andre Kuipers and NASA’s Joe Acaba completed the capsule installation and berthing operations.

The Dragon capsule is delivering 1,014 pounds of supplies to the station, which includes non-critical experiments, food, clothing and technology. Crew members will open the hatch to the capsule Saturday and unload the cargo during a four-day period.

Dragon then will be loaded with 1,367 pounds of hardware and cargo no longer needed aboard the station for the spacecraft’s return to Earth on May 31. Dragon is expected to deorbit for about four hours after leaving the station, taking some 30 minutes to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and landing in the Pacific Ocean about 250 miles west of southern California.

The following 23:25 video shows the capture of the Dragon capsule by the space station. The capture itself occurs at the 19:30 mark (video compliments of pqse77).

Read more:

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Update: 31 May 2012

NASA reports that the SpaceX Dragon capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 11:42 a.m. EDT a few hundred miles west of Baja California, Mexico, marking the completion of the first mission by a commercial company to resupply the International Space Station. The capsule earlier began a 9-minute, 50-second deorbit burn at 10:51 a.m. to decelerate the spacecraft and begin its return to Earth. The space station crew decoupled the capsule from the station at at 5:49 a.m. EDT.

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