ISS berths SpaceX’s Dragon following speedy arrival

September 3, 2015 – 09:20 pm

no altSpaceX’s CRS-5/SpX-5 Dragon has been captured and berthed by the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday morning, earlier than planned. While a large amount of attention has been focused on the near-success of the first landing of a returning core stage on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship, the primary aim of the mission was always Dragon’s delivery an array of cargo to the orbital outpost.
CRS-5:

Z2dsA quick look management review of the rocket’s ascent phase – and early on orbit operations of the Dragon – noted no issues for the duo.

Dragon herself would be forgiven for wondering why the the eyes of the space flight community were soon focused on the Atlantic Ocean, following her successful foray into Low Earth Orbit. However, that was somewhat understandable, as another Falcon 9 v1.1 core stage conducted a propulsive return to Earth.

2015-01-11 23_52_28-index.php (1500×815)The first stage made a valiant effort to hit its mark. However, the return was deemed to be too fast for a secure landing, resulting in the loss of the stage.

SpaceX is understood to have gained some video footage from the event and may release it publicly in time.

Meanwhile, Dragon merrily continued her orbital journey, conducting numerous burns to position herself for Monday’s arrival, with her propulsion system – a set of four “quads” of thrusters – successfully completing a priming phase, ahead of bringing the thruster systems up to operation via the pressurizing the fuel tanks and injection of gaseous helium.

The first burn completed was the coelliptic (CE) burn, with the 350 second firing resulting in a change of velocity of 96 mph.

An “Out Of Plane” burn was followed by the first Height Adjustment burn (HA1), with the 218 second firing resulting in a 34 mph change to the velocity.

Another coelliptic burn (CE1) was followed by two shorter burns, as Dragon chased down the ISS.

The arrival into the ISS’ back yard involved a whole series of thruster firings, each taking her closer to the station; holding at distances of 2, 500, 1, 200, 250, 30 and 10 meters, before finally being grappled by the Canadarm2 Remote Manipulator System, and attached to the nadir port of the Harmony module.

The initial series of finite maneuvers brought Dragon to just 2.5 km below ISS. A Go/No-Go was performed for the HA2/CE2 burn pair bringing Dragon to 1.2 km below ISS.

Dragon through RWS with CUCU support, via L2 Z5

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Source: www.nasaspaceflight.com

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