SpaceX docks with ISS
The International Space Station’s Expedition 31 crew grappled and attached SpaceX’s Dragon capsule to the space station Friday. This is the first time a commercial company has accomplished this type of space operation.
“Today marks another critical step in the future of American spaceflight,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said.
“Now that a U.S. company has proven its ability to resupply the space station, it opens a new frontier for commercial opportunities in space — and new job creation opportunities right here in the U.S. By handing off space station transportation to the private sector, NASA is freed up to carry out the really hard work of sending astronauts farther into the solar system than ever before. The Obama Administration has set us on an ambitious path forward and the NASA and SpaceX teams are proving they are up to the task.”
Following a series of system tests and a successful fly-under of the space station 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. These maneuvers were required to demonstrate the maneuvering and abort capability of Dragon prior to approaching and moving into a 65-foot ”berthing box” where it was grappled by NASA astronaut Don Pettit using the station’s robotic arm.
Later, European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers installed the capsule on the bottom of the station’s Harmony node. And then NASA astronaut Joe Acaba completed berthing operations by bolting the Dragon to Harmony .
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