First commercial spacecraft docks with space stationMay 26th, 2012 - 4:18 am ICT by IANS
Washington, May 26 (IANS) Private American spaceflight company SpaceX’s unmanned capsule docked with the International Space Station (ISS) Friday, becoming the first commercial spacecraft to have reached the orbital outpost, Xinhua reported.
According to US space agency NASA, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule was securely bolted to the Harmony module of the station at 1602 GMT, following a grab by the station’s robotic arm earlier in the day.
“Dragon has attached with the International Space Station!!!! History has been made!!!,” SpaceX tweeted following the docking.
SpaceX, the space flight company, had Tuesday launched the unmanned capsule to the ISS, initiating the first flight of a commercial and private spacecraft to the orbiting outpost.
On board the company’s own Falcon 9 rocket, the Dragon capsule rocketed into the sky from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The cone-shaped Dragon capsule is 19 feet tall and 12 feet across. It carries over 1,000 pounds of cargo, mostly food and clothing — items. It will remain at the space station for nearly a week and will be unberthed next Thursday.
It will head back to earth where it is planned to re-enter the atmosphere and splash down off the coast of southern California.
What sets the Dragon apart from other capsules is that it can bring back space station experiments and old equipment as the space shuttles did. None of the Russian, European or Japanese supply ships do that — they burn up when they return to earth, Xinhua reported.
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