SpaceX Dragon capsule: Cargo ship reaches International Space Station

 

Astronauts plucked a commercial cargo ship from orbit and attached it to the International Space Station, marking the reopening of a US supply line to the orbital outpost following the space shuttles' retirement last year.

After a 2-1/2 day trip, Space Exploration Technologies' Dragon cargo ship positioned itself 33 feet (10 meters) away from the $100 billion research complex, a project of 15 countries, which has been dependent on Russian, European and Japanese freighters for supplies.

Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide then used the space station's 58-foot-long (17.7-meter) robotic arm to grab hold of a grapple fixture on the side of the capsule at 6:56 a.m. EDT (1056 GMT) as the spacecraft flew 250 miles (402 km) above the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Baja California in northwest Mexico.

"Looks like we tamed the Dragon," commander Sunita Williams radioed to Mission Control in Houston.

"We're happy she's on board with us. Thanks to everybody at SpaceX and Nasa for bringing her here to us. And the ice cream," she said.

The Dragon's cargo includes a freezer to ferry science samples back and forth between the station and Earth. For the flight up, it was packed with chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream, a rare treat for an orbiting crew.

Williams and Hoshide attached the capsule to a docking port on the station's Harmony connecting module at 9:03 am EDT (1303 GMT).

It is expected to remain docked to the station for about 18 days while the crew unloads its 882 pounds (400 kg) of cargo and fills it with science experiments and equipment no longer needed on the outpost.

The flight is the first of 12 planned under a $1.6 billion contract Nasa placed with privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, to deliver cargo to the station.

The US space agency's second supplier, Orbital Sciences Corp, plans to debut its Antares rocket later this year. A demonstration run to the station is planned for February or March.

Nasa also is working with SpaceX, Boeing Co and privately owned Sierra Nevada Corp to design space taxis that can fly crew to and from the station, with the goal of breaking Russia's monopoly on those flights by 2017.

Reuters

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Metail Ltd: Business Development Manager for Asia Pacific

£35,000 - £40,000 based on experience : Metail Ltd: As a Business Development ...

Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Owner

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product ...

Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - £17,000 Basic, OTE Uncapped

£17000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company are looking for a S...

Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line Technical Analyst

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 1st / 2nd Line Technical Anal...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate