Space Station Astronauts Prepare For Dragon's Arrival

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The SpaceX Dragon capsule flies 240 meters below the International Space Station, as astronauts aboard the orbiting science lab test the freighter's response to "hold" and "retreat" commands. Morocco looms 250 miles below.   Photo Credit: NASA TV

The International Space Station crew put the SpaceX Dragon capsule through a series of "advance," "hold" and "retreat" commands early Friday as the capsule advanced to within 250 meters of its destination.

If the tests go well, Dragon will move within 10 meters of the station about 8 a.m., EDT. Astronauts Don Pettit, Andre Kuipers and Joe Acaba will reach out with Canadarm2 from their control post in the Cupola observation deck to grapple the capsule.

Dragon is scheduled to be berthed to the station's U.S. segment between 11 a.m. and noon, becoming the first U. S. commercial spacecraft to reach the orbital outpost.

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