The privately bankrolled Dragon capsule made a historic arrival at the International Space Station today, triumphantly captured by astronauts wielding a giant robot arm. SpaceX is the first private company to accomplish such a feat: a commercial cargo delivery into the cosmos. "This really is, I think, going to be recognized as a significantly historical step forward in space travel," said Elon Musk, the billionaire maestro of SpaceX.
NASA astronaut Donald Pettit used the space station's 58-foot robot arm to snare the gleaming white Dragon after a few hours of extra checks and maneuvers. The two vessels came together while sailing above Australia. "Looks like we've got us a dragon by the tail," Pettit announced. NASA controllers applauded as their counterparts at SpaceX's control center in Hawthorne, Calif., jumped out of their seats to exchange high fives. The two control rooms worked together, as equal partners, to pull off the feat. Dragon will remain at the space station for nearly a week. It will be freed next Thursday to return to Earth with a load of experiments. (Read more SpaceX stories.)