SpaceX Dragon Docks With the International Space Station
In their own words:
Today, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) made history when its Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial vehicle in history to successfully attach to the International Space Station. Previously only four governments—the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency—had achieved this challenging technical feat.
The vehicle was grappled by station’s robotic arm at 9:56 a.m. Eastern. It was pulled in Dragon’s passive common berthing mechanism successfully attached to the orbiting laboratory at 12:02 PM Eastern.
SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk will join NASA Space Station Program Manager Mike Suffredini, NASA COTS Program Manager Alan Lindenmoyer and NASA Flight Director Holly Ridings for a press conference to discuss the remarkable achievement at 1:00 PM Eastern.
When asked for his initial thoughts on Dragon’s capture and move into the history books, Elon Musk stated, “just awesome.”
This is SpaceX’s second demonstration flight under a 2006 Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) agreement with NASA to develop the capability to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station. Demonstration launches are conducted to determine potential issues so that they might be addressed; by their very nature, they carry a significant risk. If any aspect of the mission is not successful, SpaceX will learn from the experience and try again.
I was sad when NASA was forced to cancel their shuttle program. Angry.
Now, people everywhere, including Paul Allen, John Carmack and Jeff Bezos, are building rockets. Mr. Bigelow is building inflatable space habitats. Richard Branson has launched the first spaceline.
Maybe it’s not so sad. Maybe it’s the beginning of something very, very big.