SpaceX Cargo Dragon wraps up two-day rendezvous with smooth space station docking

Wrapping up a smooth rendezvous, an unmanned SpaceX Cargo Dragon carrying 3 tons of supplies and equipment, including fresh fruit, research equipment and other hardware, docked with the International Space Station early Thursday and moved to an automated docking station. .

Launched on Tuesday. From Kennedy Space Center, the Cargo Dragon approached from behind and below, passing under the station before reaching a point straight ahead. From there, it went straight in, engaging the docking mechanism of the Forward Harmony Module at 7:31 a.m. EDT.

A view of the space station as the Cargo Dragon moves on final approach.


Moments later, the spacecraft pulled up for a “hard mat,” which began a series of leak tests to verify an airtight structural seal. The hatches were expected to be opened later in the day to give the crew access to the Dragon’s pressurized cargo cabin.

“Dragon is carrying just under 6,300 pounds of cargo, including crew equipment, science probes, spacewalk equipment and vehicle hardware,” said Phil Dempsey, space station transportation integration manager at Houston’s Johnson Space Center. “

The view of the Dragon as it stood in front of the space station at an altitude of about 720 feet.


Also on board: fresh food for the station’s seven-person crew, including apples, blueberries, grapefruit, oranges, cherry tomatoes and, upon crew request, a selection of cheeses.

Cargo Dragon is expected to stay on the station for about a month. After it is lifted off, the spacecraft will be filled with research samples, components in need of refurbishment or repair, trash and other supplies.

Dragon, the only space station cargo ship capable of returning material to Earth, is expected to undock and splash down and return to recovery on April 15.

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