SpaceX Commercial Spacecraft Makes History With 1st Space Station Flyby

October 14, 2014 – 07:37 am
SpaceX Just Made History The capsule successfully made its first burn to approach the space station at 3:58 a.m. EDT (0758 GMT), and followed with another engine firing at 4:43 a.m. EDT (0843 GMT) that took Dragon to a position 1.6 miles (2.5 km) below and 25 miles (40 km) behind the International Space Station, officially beginning its flyby. At around 7:25 a.m. EDT (1125 GMT), Dragon made its closest approach, passing through the imaginary line called the R-bar connecting the station and Earth.

From this spot, cameras on the outpost searched for sightings of the approaching capsule.

"Dragon may or may not be visible, " NASA commentator Josh Byerly said. "Dragon should be a small dot on the horizon."

Shortly before 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT), station astronauts sent instructions to Dragon to turn on a strobe light as a test to make sure the craft can respond to commands sent by the astronauts. Though the light was invisible to the crew, the spacecraft's systems indicated that the command was received and responded to.


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