Thursday, May 24, 2012

SpaceX Dragon Set for ISS Docking May 25

The above image shows the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft (below and to the right of center) about 2.4 kilometers below the International Space Station on Thursday, May 24. Image Credit: NASA

Congratulations to Space Exporation Technologies (SpaceX) on their achievements so far this week. On Tuesday, May 22, at 3:44 AM ET, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, sending the Dragon spacecraft on its first NASA-contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

On Thursday, Dragon approached to 2.4 kilometers below the ISS. The spacecraft completed two key tests at that distance: Dragon demonstrated its Relative GPS and established a communications link with the International Space Station using CUCU. The ISS crew was able to command Dragon’s strobe light to confirm the link was working.

Friday morning, around 9:00 AM ET, astronauts aboard the ISS will grapple Dragon with the stations robotic arm and attach the craft to the station. If all goes well, the ISS crew will begin a two-hour procedure to open the Dragon hatch, enter the spacecraft and being unloading the supplies.

SpaceX currently has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA for 12 cargo missions through 2015. And the company has hopes of expanding their support role to include the transport of ISS crew members. For more on SpaceX, visit their home page:


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