The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was berthed to the Harmony module of the International Space Stationon Friday at 9:29 a.m. EDT while the two spacecraft were traveling above the coast of Sierra Leone. The spacecraft is loaded with more than 4,300 pounds of supplies, science experiments, and technology demonstrations, including critical materials to support about 40 of more than 250 science and research investigations during the station’s Expeditions 43 and 44. The capsule is scheduled to spend five weeks attached to the station.
While the International Space Station was traveling 257 statue miles over the Pacific Ocean just east of Japan, Expedition 43 Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, with the assistance of Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA, successfully captured the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft with the station’s robotic arm at 6:55 a.m. EDT.
Operations to berth Dragon to the space station begin at about 9:40 a.m. NASA TV coverage will resume at 9:15 a.m. at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv
A news conference following today’s flawless launch of the CRS-6 mission will begin at 5:30 p.m. EDT on NASA TV. The news conference will feature officials from NASA and SpaceX who will discuss the launch and the start of the mission to deliver experiments and equipment to the International Space Station.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk reported via Twitter, “Ascent successful. Dragon enroute to Space Station. Rocket landed on droneship, but too hard for survival.” The company is working to recover its first stage after launch, but that work is not a criteria for success with NASA’s missions to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. SpaceX also tweeted this photo:
The Dragon spacecraft is on its own in orbit and operating with its arrays deployed as planned. Next stop, the International Space Station where Flight Engineer and European Space Agency Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts will use the station’s 57.7-foot robotic arm to reach out and capture it as they operate from the station’s cupola. Arrival is set for Friday at 7 a.m. EDT.