SpaceX's Dragon Capsule Successfully Docks With ISS In Its Second Attempt
(Photo : NASA/YouTube screenshot)
The success of the much awaited SpaceX's Dragon capsule was marked after Shane Kimbrough, Commander of Expedition 50, and astronaut Thomas Pesquet caught the capsule with the robotic arm and attached it to the International Space Station (ISS) at 5:44 a.m. EST. It was while the station was crossing over the western coast of Australia.
The capsule was launched off the historic site of Cape Canaveral and was carrying more than 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg) of experiment equipment and other supplies. These include a birthday treat for French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
SpaceX made the information public by posting it on Twitter and Facebook, while NASA TV covered the whole procedure live.
SpaceX's Dragon capsule's first attempt to dock was aborted automatically on Wednesday. This was after the computers on board the capsule found that the GPS location of the International Space Station was incorrectly calculated, The Washington Post reported.
According to Florida Today, the ISS team will be opening the hatch later on Thursday. The cargo load shipped aboard the capsule includes science instruments required to carry out various NASA experiments, like monitoring the ozone layer and developing robotic devices to repair damaged satellites in space. Furthermore, the capsule will also deliver 20 live mice, which will be joining the astronauts. This will be a part of experiments related to tissue regeneration, stem cell and protein crystal studies intended towards development of novel drugs for the treatment of cancer and stroke.
The cargo also contains a special surprise for Thomas Pesquet, who is going to celebrate his 39th birthday in space this coming Monday. Pierre Herme, famous French patisserie, has sent some delicious French macaroons for the astronaut, who will be returning back to Earth in May.
SpaceX's Dragon capsule is historic, since it signifies the growing partnership between NASA and privatized space research companies for the furtherance of space research and exploration programs. Going down the same lane, NASA has already given its consent to Orbital ATK, another privately owned aerospace company, to launch the Cygnus spacecraft from the same historic launch site of Cape Canaveral. The spacecraft will be launched using the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, tentatively on March 19, 2017.