SpaceX’s capsule arrives at space station

SpaceX’s capsule arrives at space station

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
SpaceX’s capsule arrives at space station

Dragon soars over sub-Saharan Africa during the approach to the station. AFP photo

A privately-owned unmanned U.S. space capsule arrived at the International Space Station on March 3 bringing to the space outpost food, scientific materials and other crucial equipment.

The capsule, named Dragon, was captured with the help of a robotic arm by NASA Expedition 34 Commander Kevin Ford and Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn, 5:31 am EST, when the ISS was over northern Ukraine, U.S. space officials said.

Delay in plan

The craft, owned by SpaceX corporation, will now be inspected via cameras, brought to the Earth-facing port of the ISS’s Harmony module and bolted into place by commands from mission control.

The original plan was for Dragon to attach to the space station on March 2 and return to Earth on March 25, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. But the capsule ran into troubles with its thrusters shortly after launching March 1 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, triggering the delay.

SpaceX engineers found that only one of the spacecraft’s four thruster pods, which help maneuver the capsule in orbit, was working. The problems were later fixed.

The delay, however, will not affect the capsule’s splashdown, which remains planned for March 25, the U.S. space agency said.

Dragon is carrying 544 kilograms of supplies.