A PRIVATE COMMERCIAL company has successfully docked their space capsule to the International Space Station.
It is the first time a private company has delivered cargo to – or docked at – the ISS.
NASA has allocated funding to private companies to develop a space cargo delivery programme. The companies are vying to become cargo carriers for NASA in the wake of the space agency ending its space shuttle programme last summer.
Today, SpaceX became the first of those companies to deliver cargo to the space station after its unmanned Dragon capsule was ensnared by astronauts on board the ISS using a huge robotic arm.
“Looks like we got us a dragon by the tail,” NASA astronaut Donald Pettit told controllers in Houston, Texas.
(Video uploaded by RussiaToday)
The cargo capsule is also designed to return items safely to Earth.
NASA controllers are also involved in the project. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said today in a statement: “Now that a US company has proven its ability to resupply the space station, it opens a new frontier for commercial opportunities in space — and new job creation opportunities right here in the US.”
SpaceX was founded by billionaire Elon Musk, who helped create PayPal fame. Commenting on today’s achievement, Musk said it was “just awesome.”
The company’s Dragon capsule carried 1,000 pounds of supplies to the ISS on this test flight. SpaceX is contracted to undertake a dozen delivery runs.
- Additional reporting by the AP