ISS Welcomes SpaceX Dragon — First Private Spacecraft at Station

by Wired

Photo: NASA

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft successfully berthed with the International Space Station this morning after a long overnight approach including several unplanned maneuvers. The crew at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, concluded a long night of flight demonstrations and troubleshooting by watching astronaut Don Pettit control the station’s robotic arm and grapple the Dragon at 6:56 a.m. PDT.

“Looks like we’ve got a Dragon by the tail,” Pettit said from the station’s Cupola module once the capture was made.

Pettit’s successful capture of the Dragon was greeted by cheers at both SpaceX’s Hawthorne headquarters and NASA’s mission control in Houston. For both SpaceX and NASA the capture moment marks the beginning of a shift in how cargo will be delivered to and from the space station, with the eventual goal of changing how manned flight itself is done to low Earth orbit.

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