Feeds

Dragon capsule arrives at space station for Easter Sunday delivery

SpaceX reports Falcon booster made controlled touchdown in ocean

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Easter Sunday may have been all about eggs and chocolate bunnies for many, but the crew of the International Space Stations spent the day acting as specialist stevedores as SpaceX's Dragon capsule was successfully attached using the station's robotic arm.

"Dragon attachment to the International Space Station is confirmed! Final berthing completed at 10:06 am ET, hatch opening and cargo unload up next," SpaceX confirmed.

On Friday, the Dragon capsule was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral atop a Falcon 9 rocket, and spent two days catching up to the ISS using its chemical boosters. After a visual checkout, the capsule was mated with the ISS's Harmony module, and the astronauts prepared to start unpacking 5,000 pounds of supplies, hardware, and science experiments.

"Congratulations to the entire ops team for the successful launch, rendezvous and capture operation," said ISS commander Koichi Wakata. "The vehicle, the spacecraft was very solid and very stable. And the Canadarm2 was really solid, and it made it easier for us to capture."

There's no rush to unpack however – the Dragon is due to spend the next four weeks attached to the ISS as its 150 science experiments are unloaded and set up around the station. The capsule will then be reloaded with completed experiments, garbage, and defunct hardware before being sent back down the gravity well.

It's good news for SpaceX, which is now a quarter of the way through its 12-mission ISS resupply contract with NASA. The contract is worth $1.6bn to the company, but almost as important is the credibility SpaceX will get as a reliable orbital delivery firm.

In another piece of good news, SpaceX is also reporting that it managed to safely test-land its Falcon 9 booster after it had punched the Dragon through Earth's lower atmosphere. After the capsule separated, the booster deployed landing legs and began a controlled descent to the Atlantic Ocean for retrieval.

According to SpaceX the rocket was successfully brought down to sea level using residual fuel left in its tanks and hovered over the ocean before shutting down its engines. A retrieval ship was supposed to be on station to pick it up, but bad weather kept it in port. Several craft are now en route to see if the booster can be retrieved.

SpaceX's founder Elon Musk had been cautiously optimistic about the planned soft landing for the booster, but only gave the mission a 40 per cent chance of success. If the flight telemetry is correct, the next mission could see an attempt to land the hardware on terra firma. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.