After making history last Friday by becoming the first private spacecraft to ever reach the International Space Station (ISS), SpaceX’s Dragon capsule was successfully boarded by ISS astronauts the following morning. The interior of the craft was reportedly in good condition, and according to astronaut Don Pettit, it smelled like a new car.
Working from the station’s Harmony module, where the Dragon is docked, Pettit opened the capsule’s exterior hatch on Saturday at 5:53 AM Eastern Daylight Time. He and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko then entered the spacecraft for initial inspections, and were joined by European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers and Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka. The men initially wore goggles and protective masks, which is a standard precaution taken when opening any craft that has just arrived at the station.
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The ISS crew are now in the process of unloading 1,014 pounds (460 kg) of cargo, which was brought to the ISS aboard the Dragon. They will then load it up with approximately the same amount of gear, for it to bring back to Earth when it returns this Thursday.View gallery - 4 images