SpaceX docks with space station

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft today successfully rendezvoused and docked with the International Space Station.

In its fifth resupply mission to the space station, SpaceX is scheduled to keep its cargo craft attached to the space station for the next four weeks.

After lifting off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida early Saturday morning atop a Falcon 9 rocket, the Drago spacecraft spent the weekend moving into Earth's orbit and chasing down the station.

NASA's Commander Barry Wilmore worked with Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti, who is with the European Space Agency, to use the Canadarm 2 robotic arm to grab the Dragon and dock it to the Harmony module on the station.

Cristoforetti tweeted, "Dragon is berthed! Did leak check & equalized pressure, now our hatch is open. On Dragon hatch 'smell of space.'"

The Dragon is carrying 5,108 pounds of supplies, including food, water, scientific experiments, equipment and clothing. The spacecraft also is carrying tools the astronauts will need for completing spacewalks, hardware for the Russian module and an IMAX camera.

NASA reported that one of the experiments to be unloaded onto the space station is equipment to test if robots on the ground can be controlled from space using an advanced joystick. Another experiment will use acoustics for locating punctures on the outside of the space station that may have been caused by impacts from space debris or micrometeors.

While the spacecraft successfully launched and made it to the space station, the entire launch was not a success.

In an attempt to reuse the booster rockets, SpaceX had planned on having the rocket booster used during Saturday's liftoff land upright on a barge floating in the ocean.

It didn't work.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, reported on Twitter that when the rocket booster landed on the barge, it landed hard and broke apart. The barge wasn't seriously damaged but some equipment on its deck will need to be replaced.

"Close, but no cigar this time," he tweeted. "Bodes well for the future tho." Musk tweeted that there was no video of the hard landing. "Will piece it together from telemetry... and actual pieces."


Sharon Gaudin

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