Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dragon Berthed to Station

Expedition 33 Commander Suni Williams used the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to install the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship to its docking port on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony node at 9:03 a.m. EDT Wednesday. 

Earlier, working from the robotics workstation inside the cupola, Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide, with the assistance of Williams, captured the commercial cargo ship with the Canadian Space Agency-provided robotic arm at 6:56 a.m. as the spacecraft flew within about 32 feet of the orbiting complex. 

Williams and Hoshide will spend much of the remainder of their workday pressurizing the vestibule between Dragon and the station and setting up power and data cables to prepare for the opening of Dragon’s hatch on Thursday just after 6 a.m. 

Commander Suni Williams and Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide in cupola
Commander Suni Williams (background) and Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide work in the International Space Station's cupola. Credit: NASA TV
Dragon is scheduled to spend 18 days attached to the station. During that time, the crew will unload 882 pounds of crew supplies, science research and hardware from the cargo craft and reload it with 1,673 pounds of cargo for return to Earth. After Dragon’s mission at the station is completed, the crew will use Canadarm2 to detach Dragon from Harmony on October 28 and release it for a splashdown about six hours later in the Pacific Ocean, 250 miles off the coast of southern California. 

Dragon launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket at 8:35 p.m. Sunday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, beginning NASA's first contracted cargo delivery flight, designated SpaceX CRS-1, to the station. 

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