“Let me just say, congratulations to the SpaceX and Dragon team in Houston and California,” said Ford, the current ISS commander, shortly after capture.
“As they say, it’s not where you start, but where you finish that counts, and you guys really finished this one on the mark. You’re aboard, and we’ve got lots of science on there to bring aboard,” he said.
Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield
Dragon grappled by Canadarm2
SpaceX's Dragon capsule is grappled by the International Space Station on Sunday, March 2, 2013. The mission is SpaceX's second paid cargo run to the Station.
Sunday’s capture came only one day later than originally planned, after SpaceX fixed Dragon’s thruster issues by cycling the capsule's propellant valves to free suspected blockages. Elon Musk reported the transition from free drift to active control Friday afternoon shortly before Dragon raised its orbit to match the International Space Station.
Pods 1 and 4 now online and thrusters engaged. Dragon transitioned from free drift to active control. Yes!!
The station crew opened Dragon’s hatch at 1:14 p.m. EST Sunday. Over the next three weeks, they will unload over a half-ton of supplies and experiments and refill the capsule with cargo prior to its return to Earth. Splashdown is currently scheduled for March 25.
Dragon in free drift
SpaceX's Dragon capsule drifts freely in orbit following its release from a Falcon 9 upper stage on Friday, March 1, 2013. The photograph is a screen capture from SpaceX's CRS-2 mission coverage.