Despite Glitch, Russian Cargo Spaceship Docks
A Russian Progress 51 robotic spacecraft successfully docked to the International Space Station on April 26, 2013.
During the second NASA-contracted SpaceX Dragon cargo run to the International Space Station (ISS) Sunday morning (March 3, 2013), Canadian astronaut, soon-to-be ISS commander and hugely popular orbital Twitter user Chris Hadfield kept tabs on the Dragon berthing. Here are the stunning views he captured during the successful capture. Here, the Dragon capsule is grappled by the station's robotic arm -- an instrument designed and built by MDA Space Missions for the Canadian Space Agency. "Tonight's Finale: A Dragon, snared and tamed by Canadarm2. Saint George ringing in a new era in the silence of space," Hadfield tweeted. Here are some more views shared by Hadfield with the world via his Twitter account, @Cmdr_Hadfield.
The Canadarm2 awaits the arrival of the Dragon capsule. The robotic arm is the primary component of the space station's Mobile Servicing System (MSS) that was installed in 2001. The Canadarm2 provides support to astronauts on board the station -- berthing spacecraft, providing maintenance services and moving equipment around the station's exterior. "Canadarm2, proud builder of the International Space Station, in preparation for the successful grabbing of a Dragon," tweeted Hadfield.
"Dragon comes into view - first sight this morning, sneaking up on us from behind the Progress solar array," tweeted Hadfield, referring to one of the solar panels of the docked Russian Progress cargo vehicle.
"Self-portrait in the Cupola with rising Dragon below, Africa behind."
As the Dragon approached the space station, there were plenty of photo ops for the astronauts. "The Dragon spaceship high over Mount Etna - both spitting fire," said Hadfield as the spacecraft passed over the east coast of Sicily, Italy.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft over the Sahara Desert before space station berthing on March 3, 2013.
"Like a Praying Mantis, Canadarm2 poised to reach out and grab Dragon."
"Success! Canadarm2 holds Dragon by the nose, to drag it up and hook it on to a Station hatch," said Hadfield via his Twitter account when the Dragon was snared at 5:31 am EST Sunday morning.
An unmanned cargo-carrying spacecraft successfully docked with the International Space Station Friday morning (April 26), despite a glitch in the capsule's navigation system.
After its launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, the Russian Progress 51 spacecraft failed to deploy one of the two antennas used for the Kurs automated docking system. Russian ground controllers were able to reposition the antenna, allowing the automated docking to go ahead as planned.
Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Roman Romanenko kept an eye on Progress as it moved into position.
"We have contact," one of the cosmonauts said after docking, "We have capture."
Although the cosmonauts were prepared to take over docking procedures, the automated system worked and the spacecraft fully docked to the station at 8:34 a.m. EDT (1234 GMT) while flying 251 miles (404 kilometers) over the border between China and Kazakhstan.
The approach to the space station was slower than usual because controllers on the ground and astronauts on the International Space Station were carefully monitoring Progress's position, NASA officials said.
At first the Progress was "soft-docked" and not secured in place with hooks in latches, giving the station crew and flight controllers a chance to make sure its stuck antenna posed no risk to the station's exterior. When they saw it was safe, the Progress was slowly drawn into the port and secured.
Progress delivered 1,764 pounds (800 kg) of propellant, 57 pounds (26 kg) of air, 48 pounds (21 kg) of oxygen, 926 pounds (420 kg) of water and 3,348 pounds (1519 kg) of experiment hardware, spare parts and other supplies to the residents of the space station, NASA officials said.
Vinogradov and Romanenko are flight engineers on the station's Expedition 25 crew, along with NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn and Chris Cassidy, and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin. The crew is led by commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency.
Romanenko, Marshburn and Hadfield are expected to leave the space station in May after six months onboard. Once they leave, Vinogradov will take over for Hadfield as the commander of the Expedition 36 mission.
More from SPACE.com:
Cargo Ship Overcomes Glitch, Docks to Space Station | Video
Launch Photos: Progress 51 Cargo Ship Soars Toward Space Station
How Russia's Progress Spaceships Work (Infographic)
This article was originally published on SPACE.com. Copyright 2013 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.