ISS crew captures SpaceX Dragon spacecraft

25 May 2012

The capture of the Dragon spacecraft by the ISS crew, using a robotic arm. Photo by NASA

The astronaut crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS) has successfully captured the Dragon unmanned spacecraft. The docking happened a few minutes ago, at 9.56am EDT.

The SpaceX Dragon capsule had arrived at the 10-metre hold point awhile ago and the ISS crew had received the ‘go’ for capture using a robotic arm to rendez-vous the spacecraft with the space station.

NASA said the space station’s Expedition 31 crew captured the SpaceX Dragon capsule with the station’s robotic arm at 9.56am EDT.

“The feat came three days, six hours, 11 minutes and 23 seconds after the mission’s launch. The station was 251 miles over northwest Australia when capture occurred,” said the space agency.

Dragon is set to remain connected to the ISS for about three weeks. The astronauts aboard the ISS will remove the supplies from Dragon (food and clothes) before loading it with used scientific equipment before the spacecraft de-orbits for Earth.

NASA said the spacecraft will then return to Earth under parachutes, coming down in the Pacific Ocean off the California coast.

Depiction of the Dragonlab in orbit

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic