If SpaceX founder Elon Musk felt like winning the Super Bowl when the Dragon (perched atop a Falcon 9 rocket) finally launched on Tuesday, he must be absolutely over the moon now.
At 9:56 AM Eastern this morning, astronaut Donald Pettit coaxed the International Space Station’s gangly robotic arm into grabbing the unmanned Dragon capsule, marking the first time a private spacecraft has docked with the station.
“Looks like we’ve got a Dragon by the tail,” Pettit said.
The move elicited plenty of hugs and handshakes both at NASA’s mission control facility as well as SpaceX’s operations center in Hawthorne, California. That initial burst of elation has passed though, and for the past hour the astronauts aboard the space station and their ground crews have buckled down to get some more work done.
That historical grapple maneuver was only the first part of the process. Over the next few…
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