It sounds like complete science fiction, but SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft on Friday was finally “captured” by the ISS. It’s a historic day for science and engineering, and a monumental step for commercial space flight, as the Dragon is the first ever private craft to hook up, and dock, with the International Space Station.
“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.
Everything has been smooth sailing, according to progress reports. SpaceX’s journey, however, isn’t quite over. The next step will be to unload the Dragon’s 1,000 pounds of cargo over the next few weeks, after which the craft will be restocked with equipment and then disengaged for a return to Earth.
Once the return flight is successful, SpaceX is on contract for a minimum of 12 more mission to the ISS. “We are looking to provide regular services,” said SpaceX flight director John Couluris. The company’s ultimate goal will be to transport astronauts to and from the ISS.
Below is an extended video of the Dragon craft docking with the ISS.
[via ABC Australia]