SapceX Dragon Berthed to Space Station

Dragon Berthed to Space Station

The SpaceX Dragon is berthed the Harmony module

The SpaceX Dragon capsule is berthed to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

The SpaceX Dragon capsule was berthed to the Earth-facing port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 12:02 p.m. EDT Friday. This is the first time a commercial spacecraft has visited the International Space Station. The demonstration mission for SpaceX delivered non-critical cargo to the Expedition 31 crew due to its test flight status. Dragon was grappled by the Canadarm2 at 9:56 a.m. as Flight Engineer Don Pettit, with assistance from Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers, guided the robotic arm from inside the cupola.

› Audio of congratulatory call from Mission Control to Expedition 31 Crew

The spacecraft conducted a demonstration fly-under 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) beneath the orbital laboratory on Thursday before departing the vicinity. Dragon successfully established UHF communications, tested its relative GPS system and accepted commands from the station during Thursday’s maneuvers resulting in a “go” for Friday’s rendezvous and capture of Dragon.

The cargo ship’s hatches will open Saturday morning and the crew will ingress to begin several days of docked operations. Pettit, Kuipers and Flight Engineer Joe Acaba will talk live on NASA TV at 11:25 a.m. to reporters about the first commercial spaceflight to the station.

› Read more about SpaceX
› SpaceX coverage on NASA TV
› Dragon sighting opportunities
› Watch NASA TV

On May 31 the Canadarm2 will detach Dragon from the Harmony node then release it. Dragon will then perform a series of engine burns placing it on a trajectory away from the station. Finally, Dragon will conduct a deorbit burn sending it back to Earth through the atmosphere. The Dragon will then splashdown in the Pacific Ocean for recovery about 250 miles off the U.S. west coast.

› Read more about Expedition 31

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