Huffpost Science

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

Posted: Updated:
A SpaceX illustration of the Dragon capsule as it prepares to berth with the International Space Station.
A SpaceX illustration of the Dragon capsule as it prepares to berth with the International Space Station.

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
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

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.

Early Thursday morning, the spacecraft successfully flew 1.6 miles below the space station.

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 video from your Android device on Ustream

LIVE UPDATES:

live blog

Oldest Newest

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

Share this:

Share this:

spacex

Share this:

8:56am Central is official time of capture

Share this:

Astronaut Don Petit controlling robotic arm.

spacex

Share this:

spacex

Share this:

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

Share this:

spacex

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

spacex

Share this:

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

Share this:

spacex

Share this:

spacex

Share this:

From Richard Garriott: This image shows the manual visual check the astronauts onboard use to visually confirm that the Dragon is in the position the computers and telemetry state they are in.

spacex

Share this:

From private astronaut Richard Garriott: Dragon has reached the 30 minute hold point. It will now actively maintain that position until ready to close to 10m and be captured.

spacex

Share this:

No people, but lots of supplies and equipment. According to SpaceX, provisions includ:

 13 bags standard rations  5 bags low-sodium rations  Crew clothing  Pantry items (batteries, etc)  SODF and Official Flight Kit

 Food, about 117 standard meals, and 45 lowsodium meals

Share this:

Share this:
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

Share this:

Share this:

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

Share this:

Take a look at what's atop the counter.

spacex

Share this:

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

Share this:

spacex

Share this:

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

Share this:

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.

Share this:

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.

Share this:

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."

Share this:

spacex

Share this:

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.

Share this:

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

Share this:

Share this:

Around the Web

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation - Dragon

Dragon (spacecraft) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

SpaceX Dragon capsule breezes through station flyby tests | Cutting ...

How to Spot SpaceX's Dragon Capsule in the Night Sky | Space.com

Look for SpaceX's Dragon capsule at night - Technology & science ...

SpaceX Dragon capsule successfully launches | Geek.com

SpaceX launch of Dragon capsule to space station to put NASA ...

Dragon capsule on course for space station arrival

Dragon capsule on its way to space station; what's different about this ...

SpaceX readies space station rendezvous

SpaceX launch of Dragon capsule to space station to put NASA strategy on display