Humbled Dragon Docks With ISS
Capsule had suffered glitch after takeoff, SpaceX salvages mission
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 3, 2013 5:24 AM CST
The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Friday, March 1, 2013.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)

(Newser) – The Dragon capsule arrived safely at the International Space Station today, delivering a ton of supplies, after a shaky, nerve-wracking start to its mission. The Dragon's arrival was one day late but especially sweet—and not because of the fresh fruit on board for the station astronauts who snared the capsule. SpaceX struggled with the Dragon following its Friday launch, after a clogged pressure line or stuck valve prevented the Dragon's thrusters from working, and it took flight controllers several hours to gain control and salvage the mission.

In the end, the Dragon approached the orbiting lab with its 1-ton load about as smoothly as could be expected, with all of its thrusters operating perfectly. The capture occurred as the two spacecraft zoomed nearly 250 miles above Ukraine. "As they say, it's not where you start, but where you finish that counts," said space station commander Kevin Ford, "and you guys really finished this one on the mark."
Among the items on board: 640 seeds of a flowering weed used for research, mouse stem cells, food and clothes for the six men on board the space station, trash bags, computer equipment, air purifiers, spacewalking tools and batteries.The Dragon will remain at the space station for most of March before returning to Earth with science samples, empty food containers and old equipment.

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Showing 3 of 28 comments
boxcar
Mar 3, 2013 5:00 PM CST
Only 3 nations have solved the problem of CALIBRATING spacecraft thrusters- An Engr from Illinois Institute of Technology employed at RockeDyne's Santa Susana Propulsion Field Lab came up with a design coupling an accelerometer to 4 strain gauges connected as a Wheatstone Bridge, then used electronics to alter amplified output to subtract out error signal and gain a measure of Total Impulse- He could measure the impulse range of a ball peen hammer strike all the way down to the impulse of a record player tone arm setteling down on an LP WithOut that instrument, no one was going to the moon- Gemini was the Proof-Test of the calibration MO. How do I know this? I was the design engr who implemented his design concept into actual operating hdw. Afterwards I was laid off because the job was over- that's how America succeeds in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, we operate on the "Good Ol' Boy" principle. 2013 Sequester is just another of our dumb shit ways of conducting business- no common sense
Riffran
Mar 3, 2013 11:05 AM CST
'humbled dragon" sounds like a Kung Fu fighting style
Mr_Joshua
Mar 3, 2013 9:27 AM CST
Great save guys. My hat is off to the whole team !! I have no doubt that lessons will be learned from this mission. And you can call me................Mr Joshua