Updated: SpaceX Dragon capsule one day closer to attachment with International Space Station


View Photo Gallery: The launch of a privately owned rocket from Cape Canaveral went as scheduled early Tuesday, making history as the first commercial spacecraft sent to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.

Update 2:52 p.m. : According to NASA spokesman Allard Beutel, the plan is, if SpaceX gets the go-ahead, the International Space Station is expected to use the robotic arm to retrieve the Dragon capsule at a little after 8 a.m. ET. Then the capsule is expected to attach to the station at around 11:05 a.m. Allard stressed that all times were approximate and dependent on a series of go/no go calls. Beutel provided the information on a call Thursday.

The capsule is expected to detach from the station on Thursday around 3:30 a.m. Later that morning, at about 10:30 a.m., Dragon is expected to break orbit and splashdown is scheduled for around 11:40 a.m.

The capsule will then be recovered, since part of the contract between NASA and SpaceX is that the capsule not only take cargo to the space station, but bring cargo back as well. Anything not considered critical. Allard Beutel, spokesperson for NASA.

Original post: The Dragon capsule completed its fly-by of the International Space Station on Thursday morning, executing a series of maneuvers to show that the capsule was fully under control. NASA posted video of the fly-by Thursday:

Video from this morning’s flyby of the International Space Station by the @SpaceX Dragon go.nasa.gov/KNKRfB

— NASA Kennedy / KSC (@NASAKennedy) May 24, 2012

The video shows the capsule as seen from the space station — as a small, black dot floating over the Earth.

NASA also posted the daily update from the Johnson Space Center in Houston:

SpaceX’s team is located at a separate mission control center in Hawthorne, Calif. A successful docking with the International Space Station would mark the first time a commercial spacecraft will dock with the International Space Station — a significant milestone in spaceflight.

The Dragon capsule is scheduled to dock with the ISS on Friday.

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