After a successful rendezvous with the International Space Station, Dragon eases its way to within reach of the station's robotic arm.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station record the first docking of a commercial cargo ship with the station.Expedition 31 crew member Don Pettit announced: "Capture confirmed. Looks like we have us a Dragon by the tail!"
On only its second return from orbit, SpaceX made the Dragon splashdown look easy. It even hit the water 10 minutes early. Next cargo mission to the space station could come as early as September. SpaceX now has a ton of data to sift through so that these cargo flights will eventually become routine. The big challenge now is making Dragon a safe, reliable way to get astronauts to the space station.
Pics were awesome.. earlier I used to watch some documentaries on Discovery channel but of late, haven't been watching. These pictures and your story has re-kindled my interest in this. Good work.. good to know its all real!
Brings back memories of watch the early mercury, gemini and apollo launches in the sixties and seventies. Why NASA threw the plans for the Apollo and Saturn V away I will never know, nor forgive.
Still, its nice to see the US return to space. Can't wait for the first manned mission. 1960's de ja vue.
As LBJ said, we expended all that effort and treasure to get to the moon, then we "p---ed it away."
Homer Hickam, who started his NASA career at the Marshall Spaceflight Center, told us that NASA literally destroyed the jigs and dies used to make the Saturn V rocket. What a waste. The good news is that SpaceX could still use an upgraded version of the Saturn V's second stage engine, the J2X, if and when it shifts to manned Dragon flights. So not all is lost.
Yes, it reminded me of the Gemini and Apollo flights where they had to jettison the service module before conducting the de-orbit burn. SpaceX was right on target with its splashdown off the California coast, and Elon Musk was bragging at the post-flight press conference that they are so confident of their guidance system that they believe they can land Dragon in "someone's backyard."
It makes me proud that the private space business has started and looks to be sustainable. Only with multiple successful missions will the dream really become a reality. I mourned the loss of NASA launch platform capacity and hope that we will once again, reach for the stars as a country.
On a day like this, it is feels great to be an engineer! Hats off to the Dragon team.
@Frank Eory: I hear you, I had only seen news reel videos (that were screened before the movies began in Indian theatres) of the Apollo program and this certainly brings back memories. I used to watch in wonder and awe when the Apollo crafts were plucked from the ocean and never knew that one day I would be living and working in a country that produced such great feats.
I applaud this successful venture for two reasons. The first is that it has succeeded. The second is that it it is a good example of private/government cooperation. While Elon Musk needs to be commended so does NASA in becoming more of a partner with industry. Its Commercial Crew and Cargo program fits nicely with the SpaceX goals and tasks: http://www.nasa.gov/offices/c3po/home/
Yes, it's old technology. The goal here is to demonstrate a commercial capability that can reduce the cost of getting to low-earth orbit as well as hauling cargo and crews to the space station. That's the new technology. Then NASA can work on technologies that are not 50 years old.
Hey Pres, if this tech was so retro, and so "EASY" to accomplish. How come N.Korea can't get their act together and get "EASIER" feats done. I am just saying, if it was so trivial shouldn't anyone with some spare change get to do it?
Congrats SpaceX team, you desearve a great accolades for your success!!!
These were great photos and an awesome success for SpaceX; I hope they are able to repeat it in the future many times to come. That said, I really wish we would learn to not "throw away" stuff like the "trunk equipment module". It takes a ton of energy to get that up there (not to mention all the energy it took down here just to manufacture it); it should be left up there in a stable orbit (or something), rather than letting it drift and eventually burn up in the atmosphere. We are literally throwing away potential raw materials and energy that we can't get anywhere else. That is a complete and avoidable waste, in my (admittedly layman's) opinion.
Quite right. If Elon Musk's so confident of landing the cargo module "in someone's back yard" he could at least land the trunk module in a recycling bin.
Now _that's_ something I'd pay money to see on YouTube.
Reusable rockets will definitely help us to make space tourism popular. I guess people are bored of visiting places on earth, a day will come when they will start visiting space-station or moon for their holidays.
Congratulations to the SpaceX team for a remarkable accomplishment. And a wish for many more.
It's great to see them succeed in something those spineless gray worms in Congress no longer have the political will to do.
I loved the differences between the SpaceX and NASA control rooms! NASA had the old familiar large box monitors and equipment while SpaceX had slim large LCD monitors. It looked like my boys had set up for a LAN party in a reception room at the local hotel. Very nice setup and great job SpaceX! I love to see space technology brought up to date (even if the module did have to splash down - it still worked and was very successful).