Dragon docking with ISS rescheduled after malfunction

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SpaceX Dragon capsule visiting the ISS in May 2012 (Image: NASA)

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SpaceX has announced that its Dragon spacecraft’s docking with the International Space Station (ISS) has been rescheduled for 6:01 AM EST (11:01 GMT) Sunday, Mar. 3. Today (Mar. 2), SpaceX managers and NASA gave clearance for the rendezvous, which will see the craft captured by NASA Expedition 34 Commander Kevin Ford and NASA Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn using a robotic arm.

Launched successfully from Cape Canaveral on Friday (Mar.1), the unmanned cargo ship then suffered a malfunction in three of its four thruster pods used for attitude control due to a problem in the oxidizer system. The problem was resolved within hours by cycling the system and pressure hammering a stuck or blocked valve and the craft automatically recomputed its rendezvous with the station. However, the delay required rescheduling of the docking, which was originally planned for today.

Carrying 1,200 pounds (544 kg) of cargo, Dragon will approach the ISS in a series of steps as mission control and the station crew determine if the craft is operating properly. Once SpaceX, NASA and the station Commander are satisfied, the capsule will be grappled and guided to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module by ground experts at mission control in Houston and bolted into place through commands by Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency.

The Dragon CRS-2 will remain attached to the station for about three weeks, during which cargo and supplies for the ISS will be unloaded before the astronauts fill the capsule with a payload that includes research results, education experiments and space station hardware. It will then return to Earth sometime around March 26.

The video below is the SpaceX coverage of the launch of CRS-2.

Source: SpaceX

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