Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Jason Davis headshot v.2

Dragon overcomes issues, arrives at Station

Posted by Jason Davis

04-03-2013 9:16 CST

Topics: International Space Station, private spaceflight

After a wild Friday in which SpaceX’s Dragon capsule drifted freely around the Earth while ground controllers scrambled to fix an issue with its propellant valves, the capsule has arrived safely at the International Space Station. Expedition 34 astronauts Kevin Ford and Tom Marshburn grappled Dragon with Canadarm 2 at 5:31 a.m. EST Sunday and berthed it to the station’s Harmony module at 8:56 a.m.

“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.

Dragon grappled by Canadarm2

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.

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


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.
See other posts from March 2013


Or read more blog entries about: International Space Station, private spaceflight


Hayduke2000: 03/04/2013 03:03 CST

Spacecraft do not have issues. Only humans have issues. Spacecraft have problems, which humans solve. Please resist the popular cliché of "issues" used to mean problems.

Quisquis: 03/21/2013 04:16 CDT

I created an account just now, Hayduke2000, for the sole purpose of calling you a pedant, and an incorrect one at that. "Please resist the popular cliché of "issues" used to mean problems." Please resist the popular cliché of pretending to know what you're talking about.

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search


Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Us

Featured Images

Soyuz TMA-16M closes in
Liftoff of Soyuz TMA-16M
One-year crew liftoff
Tethys in enhanced color: south pole and southern Ithaca Chasma
More Images

Featured Video

Intro Astronomy 2015. Class 8: Galilean Satellites, Saturn System

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!