Dragon Berths, Drone Ship Docks

Following its early Saturday morning launch, the SpaceX CRS-5 Dragon capsule made its way to the International Space Station where it was “captured” a 5:54 AM EST as the orbiting complex sailed high above the Mediterranean Sea.

Operating the Station’s Canadarm 2 robotic arm and grapple were Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore (NASA)  and Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti (ESA).

Berthing to the Harmony module took place at 8:54 AM EST.  Hatch opening is not scheduled until Tuesday, but the event almost always takes place earlier than the projected time. Dragon will spend the next month at ISS, after which it will depart for a Pacific Ocean landing and a return of both research and equipment in its role as the Station’s sole cargo return craft capable of carrying meaningful downmass of anything other than the astronauts themselves.

In other news, the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship is back in Jacksonville, slightly worse for the wear, though not so bad off as the flattened remains of the Falcon 9 first stage which were covered by tarps on the ship’s deck.

Scarred, but Ready to Go Again Image Credit: Spaceflight Now

Scarred, but Ready to Go Again
Image Credit: Spaceflight Now


Finally, SpaceX founder Elon Musk added one more twitter post on the subject of the loss of hydraulic fluid which apparently played a role in the Falcon 9’s “hard landing.”

As repair crews get to work on the ASDS in anticipation of return to sea possibly within a few weeks, and space enthusiasts wait on any further word from SpaceX or Elon Musk regarding the specifics of the hard landing (and it may be a very long wait) the media has been divided on how to portray the landing effort. Spaceflight Now and the Wall Street Journal call it “botched,” while other outlets are using terms such as “failed” or “unsuccessful.”

What’s your take?

Posted in: Dragon, ISS

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  1. Rick Ballard says:

    Given that recovering a spent booster stage intact is extremely challenging, it was accepted up front that the odds were against a successful recovery on the first try. This is an example of failure being an acceptable option so long as the post-launch forensic investigation provides areas of improvement for the next attempt. Calling this “botched” is short-sighted and is evident of a lack of understanding of the benefits gained from this. The glass is definitely half full.

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