Two days after launching from Cape Canaveral, SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule “continues to look great” and remains on track to reach the International Space Station Wednesday morning, the company reported today.
There, a pair of astronauts operating a robotic arm plan to snag the spacecraft and pull it into a port.
Akihiko Hoshide of Japan and American Sunita Williams will be at the controls of the station’s 58-foot, Canadian-built robotic arm to grapple the Dragon
between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., and attach it to a docking port about two hours later.
SpaceX said all Dragon systems have been performing properly since its 8:35 p.m. Sunday launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket. A series of thruster burns put it on course to arrive below the station early Wednesday.
The spacecraft is programmed to climb slowly up to the station, pausing several times before reaching its capture point about 30 feet away from the orbiting laboratory complex.
A Dragon first visited the station on a demonstration flight in May. The Dragon approaching now 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 plans 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.
The Dragon is tentatively scheduled to stay attached to the outpost for just over two weeks, departing Oct. 28.
Update: 10.10.2012 / 12.25 MESZ - Dragon-Kapsel Docking-Manöver LIVE - Frams: NASA-TV
Erfolgreiches Einfangen der Dragon-Kapsel mit ISS-Greifarm