Dragon Arrived and Docked With ISS After A Tight Moment in Space
The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft successfully arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday, March 3, with a one day delay caused by an intitial problem with engaging the on-board thrusters. Two days after its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the Dragon capsule with valueable supplies and scientific experiments was captured by Expedition 34 Commander Kevin Ford and NASA Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn using the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm.
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Different to the larger European resupply spacecraft ATV, Dragon doesn't have its own automatic docking mechanism and thus has to approach the ISS very closely to be then grabbed by the robotic arm of the space station. Ground controllers at Mission Control, Houston, took over control at that point, maneuvering Canadarm2 to carefully install the Dragon onto the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module, where it was bolted in place.
Dragon's hatch will be opened Monday, March 4, to allow Ford, Marshburn and Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency to begin unloading some 575kg of scientific investigations and supplies for the crew, which will support continuing space station research.
Dragon will remain berthed to the station until March 25, when it will depart for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean to return about 1219kg of science samples from human research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations, and education activities