Dragon Captured After Two-Day Flight To Station

The SpaceX Dragon is seen seconds away from its capture with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Image Credit: NASA TV

June 5, 2017 – While the International Space Station (ISS) was traveling about 250 miles over the south Atlantic ocean east of the coast of Argentina, Flight Engineers Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson of NASA captured Dragon a few minutes ahead of schedule at 7:52 a.m. MDT.

Following its capture, the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship will be maneuvered by ground controllers operating the International Space Station’s robotic arm for installation onto the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module.

Dragon began its two-day journey to the ISS when a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 3:07 p.m. MDT, June 3. Dragon separated from Falcon 9 about 10 minutes after launch, and solar arrays successfully deployed shortly after separation from the second stage.

Inside the commercial space freighter is nearly 6,000 pounds of crew supplies, station hardware and science experiments. One of those experiments, Cardiac Stem Cells, will research how stem cells affect cardiac biology and tissue regeneration in space. The station’s Microgravity Science Glovebox is being readied for the study which may provide insight into accelerated aging due to living in microgravity.

Three new experiments were delivered for installation on the station’s exterior. The external research gear will study flexible solar arrays, the physics of neutron stars and new ways to assist with navigation, agriculture, emergency response and petroleum exploration.