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.
Throughout his five and a half months in space, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has made it a personal missive to give people a behind-the-scenes look at life in orbit through postings and photographs on Twitter and other social media sites.
For his finale, however, Hadfield, with help from his son and other collaborators, broke into the virtual big screen, with a poignant music video rendering of David Bowie’s iconic “Space Oddity.”
Taking on the roles of Ground Control and Major Tom, Hadfield croons about blue Earth’s beauty and the upcoming end of his space mission.
He and two crewmates are now aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule that is scheduled to depart the International Space Station Monday evening and parachute back to the planet at 10:31 p.m. EDT.
On Sunday, Hadfield, the first Canadian to command the station, turned over the helm to Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov, who will remain aboard the outpost with two other crewmates after Hadfield, NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn and cosmonaut Roman Romanenko return to Earth.
“It’s just been an extremely fulfilling and amazing experience,” Hadfield radioed to flight controllers on Monday.
His “Space Oddity” video, already has been viewed 1.9 million times since it was uploaded onto YouTube less than a day ago.
Hadfield is an accomplished singer and guitarist. When he’s not in orbit, he is the lead vocalist and bass guitar player for Max Q, an all-astronaut rock band based in Houston.