SpaceX Dragon awaits space station robot arm capture. Photo Credit: NASA TV
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station successfully grappled the unpiloted SpaceX Dragon re-supply capsule early Wednesday, about 60 hours after the freighter lifted off to initiate the Hawthorne, Calif.,-based company's $1.6 billion multi-mission NASA Commercial Resupply Services agreement.
Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, positioned at a control panel for the Canadian robot arm in the station's Cupola observation deck, reached out with the 58-foot-long mechanical limb to nab Dragon at 6:56 a.m., EDT, almost a half hour ahead of schedule.
NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, the station's commander, was to take over the robot arm task of berthing Dragon to the station's U. S. segment Harmony module by mid-morning. Dragon carries a multi-national cargo of nearly 1000 pounds of food, clothing, spare parts and research gear.
"Looks like we've tamed the Dragon," said Williams, as the capture unfolded 250 miles over the Pacific Ocean, west of Baja, Calif.
"Nice flying," said NASA's Mission Control.