SpaceX’s Dragon capsule has successfully docked with the International Space Station, making SpaceX the first privately owned company in history to achieve such a feat.
This success came after a long period of planning and several launch delays. While there’s still work to be done (the Dragon must successfully return to Earth), it’s a historic event, hopefully marking the beginning of a new era of privately funded space exploration.
Now that the docking process is complete, the astronauts aboard the ISS will open the Dragon’s hatch and unload the supplies the spacecraft is carrying.
After that, they’ll load used equipment into the Dragon, which will return back to Earth approximately two weeks later. The Dragon is scheduled to land in the Pacific, hundreds of miles west of Southern California.
Check out a gallery of photos from the mission tweeted by SpaceX below and our interview with SpaceX’s founder and chief designer Elon Musk here.
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SpaceX Dragon Capsule flying in formation with the ISS
Dragon Flying over the World
ISS Arm Moving toward Dragon in a Graphic View
Dragon Graphic of the Approach Plan
NASA Mission Control 2
Dragon and ISS Coming Together Sideview
Dragon and the ISS Grapple
NASA and SpaceX Move the Dragon Back Away from the ISS
Dragon Flying Near the ISS (Courtesy of SpaceX)
Space X Dragon Capsule Gets Closer
Dragon in Shadow of ISS-Holding at 30 meters
Dragon Closing in and over the Clouds
Dragon With Shadow of ISS
Dragon With Shadow Moving as the Two Crafts Fly Together
Dragon in Shadow of ISS Awaiting Instructions
NASA Mission Control
NASA Mission Control Data Screens
Dragon Right Outside the ISS
Dragon Very Close to the ISS
ISS Grapple Arm and Dragon Sideview
Go for Capture- Dragon
ISS Arm Extending to Dragon Capsule
Dragon Close view with Grapple Target
ISS Arm Closing In
Mission Control Celebrates a Successful Dock