SpaceX Dragon eventually snared by ISS
Time to call in the roadies
In a development almost as significant as getting off the ground, the Dragon capsule hoisted atop SpaceX has reached the ISS in spite of the “glitches” (to use Elon Musk's expression) that had delayed it.
The ISS's robotic arm was used to grab and secure the capsule at 0531 EST on 3 March, at which time according to Reuters the ISS was passing over the northern Ukraine. NASA then took over the operation from Houston to steer the capsule to its berthing port on the station's Harmony node.
That operation took another three hours, with docking completed at 8:44 am.
The capsule, with its 1,043 kg of equipment, parts, food and supplies, was launched on Friday March 1, but gave both SpaceX and (presumably) NASA some bad moments over the weekend when most of Dragon's thruster pods failed to operate.
The problem was traced to a blockage in the helium lines, which in turn caused low pressure in the thrust oxidizers. Mission controllers pressure-hammered the pipes to clear the problem.
Station commander Kevin Ford welcomed the successful docking with “what a fantastic day”.
Next up for the ISS crew is unloading the tonne-plus contents of Dragon, and reloading it with 1,361 kg of equipment (both unneeded and broken) and science samples headed to Earth on its return trip. Departure and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean is scheduled for March 25. ®
Re: I wonder @bazza
@bazza. So negative!!! Why? So far the mission is a success. They've got some things to work out, but its all part and parcel. These things are complicated. No new rocket/capsule is ever right out of the box, or even after multiple flights.
And for all those saying it's not ready for manned flight. NO ITS NOT READY FOR MANNED FLIGHT. It never was intended to be ready. That's what these flights are for, almost as much as the delivery. TESTING, and getting READY for manned flight. Every time they find something not working as well as it should, it gets fixed. That's one less problem for when they DO carry passengers.
Sorry about the shouting, but sometimes people just don't get it.
Re: I wonder @bazza
Comparing to problems with Apollo - fatal fire, nearly fatal thruster malfunction, nearly fatal oxygen tank explosion, this is not so bad so far.
Come to think of it - Soyuz - fatal parachute malfunction, fatal pressurisation valve failure, near fatal pyro-bolt failure, not to say of a few unplanned ballistic returns putting a few unexpected extra Gs up the cosmonauts' backsides...
You cannot talk about engineering consistency at this stage. I'm pretty sure each new capsule they make is very different from the last one - has to be, as they are upgrading systems, fixing problems identified in previous launch(es) etc.
Re: I wonder
"They've not even begun to establish any credibility in that line at all; quite the opposite."
Quite the opposite: They had a problem. It was fixed. That actually establishes more credibility to my mind.
Look into it and have a look at how many NASA/NRO missions have totally failed before being too keen to write this project off. After all: It *is* rocket science.