Private spacecraft connects to space station

SpaceX Dragon berths with ISS

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

(CNN) — A private spacecraft connected to the International Space Station on Friday, a milestone in a new era of commercial space flight.

It happened just before 10 a.m. ET when the station’s robotic arm captured the unmanned SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The process of attaching the Dragon to the space station was completed at 12:02 p.m. ET.

The process began almost two hours later than planned while engineers fixed part of the radar system aboard the Dragon that measured distance to the space station, NASA said.

“Looks like we caught a Dragon by the tail,” astronaut Don Pettit said after capturing the capsule with the robotic arm, according to NASA.

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The next step is for the Dragon capsule to unload its cargo, which includes food, clothing, 22 pounds of computer equipment and 46 pounds of supplies for science experiments.

“There’s so much that could’ve gone wrong and it went right,” said SpaceX founder Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal, who earlier called the successful capture “awesome.”

NASA’s space station program manager Mike Suffredini said the spacecraft performed “nearly flawlessly.” He said SpaceX did a “fantastic job” in designing and operating the Dragon.

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(1) Private spacecraft connects to space station
URL: http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/25/us/spacex/index.html?section=cnn_latest



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