Space station arm grabs Dragon capsule

2012-05-25 16:36
Washington -The International Space Station on Friday successfully used its robotic arm to grab the approaching Dragon capsule, making SpaceX the first private company to rendezvous with the orbiting lab.

"Capture is confirmed," said Nasa at 13:56 ahead of a second-phase operation to attach the cargo-carrying Dragon to the lab later in the day.

"It looks like we got us a Dragon by the tail," said US astronaut Don Pettit, who was operating the Canadian-built robotic arm from the space station as it reached out and hooked on to the SpaceX capsule.

The two spacecraft were travelling about 402km above northwest Australia at the time of the grab, Nasa said.

A formal berthing of the Dragon later on Friday will bring the capsule closer to latch on at the station's Harmony module so its cargo can be unloaded over the coming days, SpaceX said.

SpaceX's supply ship has now reached the climax of its mission to become the first privately owned craft to berth with the space station, restoring US access to the space outpost after the shuttle program's end.

Only Russia, Japan and Europe currently have supply ships that can reach the ISS. The United States lost that capacity when it retired its space shuttle fleet in 2011.
The capsule blasted off atop the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Tuesday.

"Once again SpaceX has done it. They have just become the first private company to successfully launch their own spacecraft and get captured by the International Space Station robotic arm," said a Nasa commentator.

Read more on:    spacex  |  good news  |  space  |  iss
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