SpaceX Dragon finally reaches International Space Station

ISS, SpaceX, Dragon, spacecraft

SpaceX is one happy company after its Dragon spacecraft finally managed to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) after delays because of a GPS glitch.

Dragon was scheduled to arrive at the ISS a day earlier, but due to a navigation glitch SpaceX had to delay the arrival. The spacecraft carrying nearly 5,500 pounds (2,500 kg) of cargo was launched from Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday.

The Dragon reached the ISS on Thursday bringing with it science experiments, food and supplies to astronauts. European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet of France then used the station’s 58-foot (17.6 m) robot arm to pluck the gumdrop-shaped capsule from orbit at 5:44 a.m. EST (1044 GMT).

“Looks like we’ve got a great capture,” U.S. station commander Shane Kimbrough radioed to Mission Control in Houston.

Ground control teams took over operations to drive the capsule to a docking port, triggering automatic bolts that locked it into place at 8:12 a.m. EST, NASA said.

The station crew expects to unload the capsule later on Thursday. Its cargo includes two science instruments to be mounted outside the station. One will measure the Earth’s ozone and atmospheric gases and particles, and another seeks to help scientists better understand lightning strikes, which occur about 45 times per second around the world, NASA said.

The capsule also carried dozens of experiments to be conducted inside station laboratories, including stem cell research. Astronauts also plan to test the effects of microgravity on the superbug Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

The station, a $100 billion project of 15 nations, expects another cargo delivery from a Russian Progress ship, launched a day ago from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, with docking at 3:34 a.m. EST on Friday.


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