Space Station Crew Captures Cargo Capsule

7:59 AM, Oct 10, 2012   |    comments
The SpaceX capsule launches from Cape Canaveral Florida on Oct. 7th (image credit Bruce Weaver/Getty)
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Cape Canaveral, FL (written by James Dean/Florida Today) -- A pair of astronauts operating a robotic arm at the International Space Station snagged a SpaceX cargo capsule Wednesday and are pulling it into a docking port.

The Dragon capsule was captured just before 7:30 a.m. EDT and is expected to be berthed about two hours later.

"Looks like we've tamed the Dragon," astronaut Sunita Williams said. "We're happy she's on board with us. Thanks to everybody at SpaceX and NASA for bringing her here to us -- and (for) the ice cream."

SpaceX reported Tuesday that the unmanned spacecraft "continues to look great" and all systems were performing properly since its Sunday evening launch from Cape Canaveral atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

A series of thruster burns put the Dragon on course to chase down the station by early Wednesday.

The spacecraft then was programmed to approach the station slowly, pausing several times before reaching its capture point about 30 feet away from the orbiting laboratory complex.

Akihiko Hoshide of Japan and Williams, an American, were at the controls of the station's 58-foot, Canadian-built robotic arm.

A Dragon first visited the station on a demonstration flight in May. The Dragon arriving Wednesday is on NASA's first official commercial resupply mission, the first of 12 under a $1.6 billion contract.

If all goes well, the station's three-person crew plan to open the capsule's hatch Thursday to begin unloading roughly 1,000 pounds of cargo and packing twice as much for return to Earth.

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