SCIENCE

Dragon Capsule, SpaceX Spacecraft, Set To Dock With ISS (LIVE UPDATES)

05/25/2012 07:28 am ET | Updated May 25, 2012

UPDATE: The Dragon capsule was successfully captured at 9:56 a.m. EDT by NASA astronaut Don Pettit, using the International Space Station's (ISS) robotic arm. SpaceX is the first private company to launch and dock a spacecraft at the ISS.

The Dragon capsule, the unmanned spacecraft that was launched on SpaceX's Dragon 9 rocket early Tuesday morning, will attempt to dock with the International Space Station on Friday.

If successful, it will be the first private spacecraft to fly to the ISS.

SCROLL DOWN FOR LIVE UPDATES

SpaceX Craft Successfully Docks At Space Station Photos

Since entering orbit on Tuesday, the capsule has been examined to make sure it is fit to berth with the space station, undergoing tests on its thrusters and Absolute Global Positioning System, among others.

Dragon began its approach to the space station around 3 a.m. EDT on Friday, according to NASA. Running slightly behind course, astronauts aboard the ISS will use the space station's robotic arm to grapple Dragon after 8 a.m. EDT, and the spacecraft will attach to the station.

The astronauts are expected to open Dragon's hatch -- a process that takes two hours -- early Saturday morning.

The Dragon spacecraft is carrying about 1,000 pounds of non-essential rations, including clothing, food, computer equipment and student experiments.

With the retirement of the space shuttle last summer, the United States no longer has a means of transporting astronauts or supplies to space, and currently relies on Russia and its Soyuz rocket and spacecraft to make the trips.

NASA awarded $381 million to SpaceX as part of a 2006 agreement, according to press materials from the company. SpaceX has spent $1 billion over the last decade, the Associated Press reports.

NASA has also awarded $266 million to Orbital Sciences Corp., a Virginia-based space technology company, which has a goal of launching a rocket and spacecraft by the end of the year.

LIVE UPDATES CONTINUE BELOW VIDEO STREAM

LIVE UPDATES:

05/25/2012 10:35 AM EDT

Good To Go

NASA finished inspection of the mating area of Dragon and confirms it's good to go.

05/25/2012 10:02 AM EDT

Time To Celebrate

05/25/2012 9:59 AM EDT

#Dragon By The Tail

spacex

05/25/2012 9:58 AM EDT

Capture Confirmed

8:56am Central is official time of capture

05/25/2012 9:56 AM EDT

A Few More Feet To Go

Astronaut Don Petit controlling robotic arm.

spacex

05/25/2012 9:52 AM EDT

It's 'Go' For Capture

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05/25/2012 9:48 AM EDT

One Final Poll

NASA says controllers being polled now to see if it's okay for ISS arm to capture Dragon spacecraft.

05/25/2012 9:47 AM EDT

People Gathering Outside #SpaceX Control

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05/25/2012 9:44 AM EDT

#Dragon In The Dark

Richard Garriott: They may go for capture in the dark, but a daylight capture is generally preferred.

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05/25/2012 9:39 AM EDT

Almost There!

From Richard Garriott: Right now they are holding 30 meters out. As soon as they are clear to come within 10 meters, they will come within reach of the robotic arm. They will hold at 10 meter and grab it, pulling it in for the final mating via this arm. In the future Dragon will be outfitted with automatic docking capability. Departing the 30 meter hold momentarily.

spacex

","short_text":"

Crazy world where both SpaceX's Dragon capsule and my vacuuming robot use LIDAR: bit.ly/A9hL5I

— Steven Hugg (@sehugg) Read More"},{"id":"18","created":"05/25/2012 9:08 AM EDT","title":"#Dragon Gives Great View Of ISS","tweet_link":"18_dragon-gives-great-view-of-iss","entry_text":"

From Richard Garriott: Now closing again on ISS, after narrowing its field of view to miss the reflector on the right edge of this scene on the Japanses KIBO module.

\"spacex\"

","short_text":"

From Richard Garriott: Now closing again on ISS, after narrowing its field of view to miss the reflector on the right edge of this scene on the Japanses KIBO module.
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"},{"id":"17","created":"05/25/2012 9:06 AM EDT","title":"Stay Strong, #SpaceX","tweet_link":"17_stay-strong-spacex","entry_text":"

Hats off to the #SpaceX team who's methodical, professional, adaptable troubleshooting so far seems in the best steely-eyed tradition.

— Justin (@bethejustin) May 25, 2012

","short_text":"

Hats off to the #SpaceX team who's methodical, professional, adaptable troubleshooting so far seems in the best steely-eyed tradition.

— Justin (@betheju...Read More"},{"id":"16","created":"05/25/2012 9:02 AM EDT","title":"#SpaceX Sending Command To #Dragon","tweet_link":"16_spacex-sending-command-to-dragon","entry_text":"

From Richard Garriott: Space X will now command Dragon to tighten its field of view on the LIDAR system, so it will no longer pick up stray reflections from a reflector on the external palette attached to the Japanese module. Once they are focused on the correct sensors, then they can proceed to the 30 meter hold position for 30 minutes.

\"spacex\"

","short_text":"

From Richard Garriott: Space X will now command Dragon to tighten its field of view on the LIDAR system, so it will no longer pick up stray reflections from a reflector on the external palette attached to the Japanese module. Once they are focused on t...Read More"},{"id":"15","created":"05/25/2012 8:59 AM EDT","title":"#Dragon At NASA Mission Control?","tweet_link":"15_dragon-at-nasa-mission-control","entry_text":"

Take a look at what's atop the counter.

\"spacex\"

","short_text":"

Take a look at what's atop the counter.

"},{"id":"14","created":"05/25/2012 8:54 AM EDT","title":"#Dragon In Sunlight","tweet_link":"14_dragon-in-sunlight","entry_text":"

From Richard Garriott: As the ISS / Dragon approach the sunny side of the earth, things go from very dark to very bright. One of my strongest impressions and memeories from space was how the light side of things like the ISS in sunlight were so overly bright, and the shadow side was always so dark. Very unlike seeing things bathed in light on earth, where scatter lightens all sides of a scene somewhat.

\"spacex\"

","short_text":"

From Richard Garriott: As the ISS / Dragon approach the sunny side of the earth, things go from very dark to very bright. One of my strongest impressions and memeories from space was how the light side of things like the ISS in sunlight were so overly ...Read More"},{"id":"13","created":"05/25/2012 8:51 AM EDT","title":"View From ISS","tweet_link":"13_view-from-iss","entry_text":"

\"spacex\"

","short_text":"

"},{"id":"12","created":"05/25/2012 8:51 AM EDT","title":"#SpaceX Craft, ISS Heading Back Into Daylight","tweet_link":"12_spacex-craft-iss-heading-back-into-daylight","entry_text":"

NASA says ISS and Dragon are heading over Canada and back into daylight.

","short_text":"

NASA says ISS and Dragon are heading over Canada and back into daylight.

"},{"id":"11","created":"05/25/2012 8:46 AM EDT","title":"#Dragon Gets Weird Data?","tweet_link":"11_dragon-gets-weird-data","entry_text":"

From private astronaut Richard Garriott: The Dragon got some lidar (light detection and ranging) data from the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) known as “Kibo” (Hope) modules reflector that differed from expected parameters. Thus they backed away, and are now looking for the best solutions to resume approach. Amazing that we are already doing so well, for such complex systems that cannot be really fully tested until live conditions such as this! We will be back in sunlight shortly.

","short_text":"

From private astronaut Richard Garriott: The Dragon got some lidar (light detection and ranging) data from the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) known as “Kibo” (Hope) modules reflector that differed from expected parameters. Thus they backed away, ...Read More"},{"id":"10","created":"05/25/2012 8:35 AM EDT","title":"Being VERY Careful","tweet_link":"10_being-very-careful","entry_text":"

From Richard Garriott:

As this is the first approach of a new vehicle, they of course are being VERY conservative on the boundaries of continuing at all steps. As I mentioned just holding even near another object in space will often mean you are at risk of a collision, if you do not actively maintain separation. And this can happen fast, as in only about 22.5 minutes or ¼ of an orbit, two orbiting bodies near each other could collide without pushing away, as they both orbit the center of the earth.

","short_text":"

From Richard Garriott:

As this is the first approach of a new vehicle, they of course are being VERY conservative on the boundaries of continuing at all steps. As I mentioned just holding even near another object in space will often mean you are ...Read More"},{"id":"9","created":"05/25/2012 8:32 AM EDT","title":"Retreat Command","tweet_link":"9_retreat-command","entry_text":"

NASA says \"retreat command\" given to Dragon spacecraft. Says private astronaut Richard Garriott: \"There must be some data out of bounds for command control or position.\"

","short_text":"

NASA says \"retreat command\" given to Dragon spacecraft. Says private astronaut Richard Garriott: \"There must be some data out of bounds for command control or position.\"

"},{"id":"8","created":"05/25/2012 8:30 AM EDT","title":"Holding Pattern","tweet_link":"8_holding-pattern","entry_text":"

\"spacex\"

","short_text":"

"},{"id":"7","created":"05/25/2012 8:27 AM EDT","title":"From Richard Garriott: On The Shadow Side","tweet_link":"7_from-richard-garriott-on-the-shadow-side","entry_text":"

\"spacex\"

The ISS & Dragon are now on the shadow side of the earth, for the next 45 minutes or so. Here you can see the flashing light on capsule holding 100m or so from the station, as they continue to check systems before closing in on ISS.

","short_text":"

The ISS & Dragon are now on the shadow side of the earth, for the next 45 minutes or so. Here you can see the flashing light on capsule holding 100m or so from the station, as they continue to check systems before closing in on ISS.

"},{"id":"6","created":"05/25/2012 8:22 AM EDT","title":"From Richard Garriott: Contrasting Control Rooms","tweet_link":"6_from-richard-garriott-contrasting-control-rooms","entry_text":"

Interesting contrasts between the mission control centers of NASA and SpaceX. Interesting to see the “traditional mission control of NASA and the minimalist control room of Space X. Keyboards and monitors is all that is really needed these days!

NASA control room:

\"spacex\"

SpaceX control room:

\"spacex\"

","short_text":"

Interesting contrasts between the mission control centers of NASA and SpaceX. Interesting to see the “traditional mission control of NASA and the minimalist control room of Space X. Keyboards and monitors is all that is really needed these days!

<...Read More"},{"id":"5","created":"05/25/2012 8:17 AM EDT","title":"SpaceX Control Room","tweet_link":"5_spacex-control-room","entry_text":"

The anticipation for #Dragon is building at #SpaceX early this am. @BSchuler @spacex twitter.com/rglein/status/…

— Randy Glein (@rglein) May 25, 2012

","short_text":"

The anticipation for #Dragon is building at #SpaceX early this am. @Read More"},{"id":"4","created":"05/25/2012 8:14 AM EDT","title":"Richard Garriott: What The Charts Show","tweet_link":"4_richard-garriott-what-the-charts-show","entry_text":"

This image shows 3 or four orbits, which the ISS and dragon will make in only the next few hours! At 17,000 miles per hour you go around the earth mighty fast. Here you can see the day/night shaded areas that the ISS/Dragon will go in/out of every 45 minutes as they orbit the earth. Thus the crew will be seeing a sunrise or sunset every 45 minutes a well.

\"spacex\"

","short_text":"

This image shows 3 or four orbits, which the ISS and dragon will make in only the next few hours! At 17,000 miles per hour you go around the earth mighty fast. Here you can see the day/night shaded areas that the ISS/Dragon will go in/out of every 45 m...Read More"},{"id":"3","created":"05/25/2012 8:08 AM EDT","title":"Private Astronaut Richard Garriott Explains 'Holding Pattern'","tweet_link":"3_private-astronaut-richard-garriott-explains-holding-pattern","entry_text":"

When they get to 30m away from the space station, they will go into a “station keeping” hold. What this means is that Dragon will actively try and stay 30 meters away from the ISS. I anticipate that will be done directly aft (behind) the ISS, as one vehicle directly behind the other is a stable relative position, requiring little or no active guidance. They hope to “capture” the Dragon with the robotic arm during what will be the 45 minute “daylight” cycle for ISS, so the crew can see it better, than the 45 minute night cycle (in the shadow of the earth).

","short_text":"

When they get to 30m away from the space station, they will go into a “station keeping” hold. What this means is that Dragon will actively try and stay 30 meters away from the ISS. I anticipate that will be done directly aft (behind) the ISS, as on...Read More"},{"id":"2","created":"05/25/2012 8:05 AM EDT","title":"Dragon At Less Than 100 Meters From ISS","tweet_link":"2_dragon-at-less-than-100-meters-from-iss","entry_text":"

\"spacex

","short_text":"

"},{"id":"1","created":"05/25/2012 7:51 AM EDT","title":"View Of Dragon Capsule","tweet_link":"1_view-of-dragon-capsule","entry_text":"

150m and holding. #SpaceX #Dragon soaring over the deep blue waters and fluffy white clouds of the Atlantic. twitter.com/bethejustin/st…

— Justin (@bethejustin) May 25, 2012

","short_text":"

150m and holding. #SpaceX #Dragon soaring over the deep blue waters and fluffy white clouds of the Atlantic. Read More"}]

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