SpaceX's Dragon Arrives at the ISS Successfully for First Official Cargo Run
October 10, 2012 1:44 PM
comment(s) - last by
Dragon arrived at the orbiting station early Wednesday morning
SpaceX's Dragon capsule successfully made it to the International Space Station (ISS) early this morning, where it will unload nearly 1,000 pounds of cargo for the next few weeks.
The unmanned Dragon capsule
set off toward the ISS Sunday night
, and arrived at the orbiting station early Wednesday morning. Astronauts on the ISS used a robot arm to securely latch the Dragon to the space station about 250 miles above the Pacific, just west of Baja California.
"Looks like we've tamed the Dragon," said Sunita Williams, ISS commander. "We're happy she's on board with us."
The Dragon's hatch will be opened tomorrow, where astronauts will begin unloading the cargo inside. Right now, Dragon contains 882 pounds of scientific experiments, groceries, clothes and other items. The capsule will return to Earth with twice as much cargo.
This week's venture to the ISS marks
Dragon's second journey to the ISS
. It originally made a test flight back in May of this year, but this particular trip marks the first official cargo run as part of a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. This contract locks SpaceX in to 12 total cargo runs to the ISS through 2015.
While today's linkup at the ISS was a successful one, the entire trip wasn't perfect. A prototype communications satellite aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket (which launched Dragon to the ISS) was sent into the wrong orbit due to one of the Falcon 9s' Merlin engines shutting down early during Sunday night's launch. Orbcomm, the company that owns the prototype OG2 satellite, said it was "deposited into a lower-than-intended orbit." The company is now analyzing whether the satellite can use its onboard propulsion system to adjust its orbit.
Aside from that malfunction, all went well for
the SpaceX mission
. Dragon is due to return to Earth near the end of October, after all cargo is unloaded and reloaded.
SpaceX, a private space transport company from California, stepped in as America's new form of transportation to the ISS after NASA retired its space shuttle fleet throughout 2011. This retirement left American astronauts with no way to get to the ISS, except onboard a Russian Soyuz rocket -- which has become pretty pricey.
It was clear that the U.S. needed a new way to send supplies to and from the ISS, and SpaceX was happy to provide its Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket.
Dragon is set to make its next cargo run for the NASA contact in January 2013.
SpaceX is also working on a Dragon capsule that can be manned by astronauts, and hopes to send the first manned Dragon to the ISS between 2015 and 2017.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
10/10/2012 2:31:50 PM
Agreed on all points.
Also, I would think the Discover Magazine report is probably the right one. The first stage is made to work with only 8 engines without a loss of overall performance (it got the second stage with Dragon where it needed to go, after all); but reigniting a second stage is a trickier maneuver. That's where I would guess an orbital insertion failure would occur. Guess we'll have to see once the official analysis from SpaceX comes.
10/10/2012 3:05:25 PM
speculation on my part...but given:
A) The ISS Cargo was the primary mission
B) Which would be launched to a lower altitude than the Failed Sat.
c) And a safety of some sort would be built into the upper stage until the ISS Cargo resupply Module separated.
It seems likely that whatever Safety Switch was used to notify the flight Computer that the ISS Resupply Module had separated from the rocket malfunctioned, which would then make a "restart" of the upper stage rocket impossible.
Once again, pure speculation.
"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
SpaceX Successfully Launches Dragon/Falcon 9 for First Official Cargo Run
October 8, 2012, 4:45 PM
SpaceX to Send its Dragon for First "Official" ISS Supply Run Oct. 7
September 21, 2012, 1:26 PM
SpaceX's Dragon Reaches Pacific Ocean, Ends Successful ISS Journey
May 31, 2012, 7:33 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Most Popular Articles
Microsoft Band 2 Stays Focused on Fitness, Debuts Oct. 30, Priced at $249
October 6, 2015, 9:16 PM
Microsoft's HD-500 ("Display Dock"), the Magic Sauce Behind Continuum
October 6, 2015, 5:30 PM
Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL Finally Launch, w/ Windows 10, Liquid Cooling
October 6, 2015, 3:35 PM
Legere Blasts Microsoft for "Bull***t" Snub of T-Mobile and Verizon
October 9, 2015, 3:02 PM
Apple's First Fixes to iOS 9 Land w/ iOS 9.0.1 Release
September 23, 2015, 6:11 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information