The Washington Post

Updated: SpaceX Dragon capsule makes history; captured by international space station (Live video)

View Photo Gallery: The SpaceX Dragon capsule successfully attached to the international space station Friday morning, making SpaceX the first private company to launch its own craft for successful rendezvous with the station.

Updated at 11:08 a.m.: The live feed from NASA continues. But, in case you missed it, here is video of the historic event:

Updated at 10:06 a.m.: The capture procedure is officially complete. And we’ve been receiving some reaction online from readers:

@oninnovations @SpaceX I would like to see us go to Mars on an ISS. And Saturn with its moons and rings!

— Annie Jong Salazar (@inetdelivered) May 25, 2012

New era in space travel. But is it good?RT @washingtonpost: RT @emikolawole: Capture confirmed! @SpaceX makes history:

— Steven Bruss (@SteveBruss) May 25, 2012

I mean really cool! RT @washingtonpost: RT @EmiKolawole: Capture is confirmed! @SpaceX makes history:

— Kim Norris (@KimHNorris) May 25, 2012

Updated 9:55 a.m.: The international space station has captured the Dragon capsule, making SpaceX the first private company to launch their own spacecraft to be captured by the international space station’s robotic arm. At 9:56 a.m., the capture was confirmed, taking place over Northwest Australia.


— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 25, 2012

.@SpaceX #Dragon capsule captured by International Space Station!

— NASA (@NASA) May 25, 2012

Update 9:52: Astronauts Don Pettit along and Andre Kuipers are operating the robotic arm to fetch the Dragon Capsule as it approaches the station in free drift.

Updated 9:46 a.m.: And we are go for capture. The capsule has been given the greenlight for capture by the international space station. The capsule is operating on one LIDAR, if the second LIDAR fails, the capsule will automatically abort.

MCC gives #Exp31 @astro_Pettit go to grapple @SpaceX #Dragon. @astro_andre assisting inside #ISS cupola.

— Johnson Space Center (@NASA_Johnson) May 25, 2012

#Dragon is go for capture!

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 25, 2012

Update: 9:41 a.m.: Dragon has crossed the 15 meter threshold on its approach to the crucial 10 meter point. The team on board the station has turned on five lights on station’s exterior for additional light, as the space station and capsule head into orbital night.

Update: 9:36 a.m.:

@SpaceX #Dragon approaches 10 meter capture point hold from #ISS. #Exp31 waiting to grapple.…

— Johnson Space Center (@NASA_Johnson) May 25, 2012

As we continue to wait for the capsule to attach to the international space station, I can’t help but share the opening to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Listening to this over video of the capsule slowly making its way towards the Space Station is definitely something worth trying.

Update 9:26 a.m.: Everything is “go” right now for Dragon to depart the 30 meter hold point. After this, it will reach10 meters from the station — within reach of the ISS’s robotic arm. The updated grapple time for the capsule is 10:02 a.m. ET.

.@SpaceX #Dragon capsule inside 30 meters beneath #ISS. New scheduled grapple time is 10:02 a.m. Live coverage:

— NASA (@NASA) May 25, 2012

Go given for @SpaceX Dragon capsule to approach inside 30 meters at approx. 9:32 a.m. EDT. The new scheduled grapple time is 10:02 a.m.

— NASA Kennedy / KSC (@NASAKennedy) May 25, 2012

Update: 9:17 a.m.: Dragon is currently holding at the 30-meter hold point. On the ground, NASA and SpaceX staff are determining at which levels the LIDAR and other monitoring sensors need to be set. The SpaceX team has been making modifications to the rendezvous sensors throughout the morning.

@SpaceX #Dragon arrives at 30 meter hold point from #ISS. Controllers timing when vehicle is ready for 10 meter hold.

— Johnson Space Center (@NASA_Johnson) May 25, 2012

Update 9:02 a.m.: The capture time has been updated yet again. It is now set tentatively for 10:40 a.m. ET. As we await updates on the Dragon capsule’s capture, I recommend reading Post colleague Brian Vastag’s May 22 piece on SpaceX and how they seek to make space travel cheap and cool.

#Dragon holding at 30 meters

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 25, 2012

.@SpaceX #Dragon resumes approach to #ISS toward 30m hold point. Based on lighting, grapple estimated 10:40amET. Live.:

— NASA (@NASA) May 25, 2012

Update 8:56 a.m.: The SpaceX team believes it has found a way to fix a problem with the LIDAR sensors, which allow the capsule to fine-tune its approach to the station, similar to a set of eyes. Dragon should be able to resume its approach to the 30-meter hold point where teams in Houston will make an evaluation as to when Dragon will be able to proceed to the 10 meter point, where the robotic arm will be able to reach out and capture it.

#Dragon holding @ 70m from #ISS. @SpaceX engineers configuring nav systems to remove glint of light off of station module before grapple.

— NASA (@NASA) May 25, 2012

Update 8:33 a.m.: The Dragon capsule is currently holding as both the capsule and the international space station entering into daylight.

Original Post: NASA posted an update shortly after 8 a.m. this morning, changing the time for when the Dragon Capsule is scheduled to be captured by the international space station to 9:10 a.m. EDT. The capsule has gone through a series of maneuvers, and was originally scheduled to be captured by the space station at 11:05 a.m.

Updated timeline: the projected capture of the @SpaceX #Dragon capsule by the International Space Station is now 9:10 a.m. EDT

— NASA (@NASA) May 25, 2012

Read more news and ideas on Innovations:

Dragon capsule set to dock with ISS (video)

Rob ‘CmdrTaco’ Malda | The secret to immortality

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