ISS Robotic Arm Ready to Capture Dragon, Capsule Joins Five Others Now Docked

Spacecraft currently docked with the ISS 4 photos
Photo: NASA
SpaceX CRS-17 mission launch, May 4SpaceX CRS-17 mission launch, May 4SpaceX CRS-17 mission launch, May 4
Following a string of unusual incidents that have postponed the launch of the latest SpaceX mission to the International Space Station, the company’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully completed its mission on Saturday, May 4.
Initially scheduled for launch on May 1, the mission was pushed to May 3 due to a failure of a piece of electrical hardware on the ISS. On Friday, it was SpaceX’s turn to call off the launch, citing electrical issues with the Of Course I Still Love You drone-ship that was to act as a landing pad for the Falcon 9 booster.

On Saturday, the launch took place and successfully concluded with the landing of the booster. The Dragon capsule carrying supplies for the astronauts on board the station, along with a host of experiments, is scheduled to reach its docking location on Monday.

As usual, the capsule will be captured by the ISS astronauts with the aid of a robotic arm, the same piece of hardware affected by the electrical failure of earlier this week. After remote repairs conducted from Earth with the help of robots, the arm is now up and running.

The docking of the Dragon will bring the total of spacecraft currently attached to the space station to six, along three other cargo ships and two meant for crew transport. Already on location are Northrop Grumman's Cygnus, the Russian Progress 71, Progress 72, the Soyuz MS-11 and MS-12 crew ships.

After docking, the Dragon capsule will reveal its contents, which includes tools for examining the atmospheric carbon cycle, an experiment to study the use of microalgae as air recyclers on the ISS and a tool for studying regolith, the debris usually found on the surface of asteroids and moons.

The docking of the SpaceX Dragon with the ISS is airing live on NASA Television starting at 5:30 a.m. EDT. The feed is available at this link.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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