Today’s successful launch of the Dragon spacecraft kicks off a two-day orbital pursuit of the International Space Station. Rendezvous and grapple of the spacecraft is expected to take place Monday morning. Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA will use the station’s 57.7-foot robotic arm to reach out and capture Dragon at approximately 6 a.m. Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency will support Wilmore as they operate from the station’s cupola. NASA TV coverage of grapple will begin at 4:30 a.m. Coverage of Dragon’s installation to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module will begin at 8:15 a.m.
The Dragon spacecraft will remain attached to the space station’s Harmony module for more than four weeks and then splash down in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, bringing with it almost two tons of experiment samples and equipment from the station.