SpaceX Dragon Docks With Space Station After Engine WoesJesse Hamilton
Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s spacecraft docked with the International Space Station a day late after recovering from engine malfunctions, according to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
The unmanned craft operated by the Hawthorne, California-based company known as SpaceX was in place at 8:56 a.m. today, NASA said in a statement, and it will stay for 22 days before returning for a Pacific Ocean splashdown. This is the company’s second of at least a dozen planned supply missions to the station, a $1.6 billion contract.
Just after Dragon’s March 1 launch, three of the craft’s four thruster pods didn’t initially work and had to be remotely coaxed back online. Elon Musk, head of SpaceX, had said a preliminary review suggested the malfunction may have stemmed from a blocked or stuck fuel valve.
“Spaceflight will never be risk-free, but it’s a critical achievement that we once again have a U.S. capability to transport science to and from the International Space Station,” said William Gerstenmaier, an associate administrator at NASA, in a statement.
The cargo vessel is delivering 1,268 pounds of supplies to support the space station’s operations and experiments, according to NASA. It will return with 2,668 pounds of research samples that scientists hope will help them study spaceflight’s effects on humans, plant samples that may aid in producing food for longer space missions and crystals meant to help improve solar cells and electronics.