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Dragon Hatches Open; Station Crew Holds News Conference

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sun May 27, 2012 6:55 am via: NASA
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The hatches between the International Space Station’s Harmony node and the Dragon spacecraft were opened at 5:53 a.m. EDT on Saturday. The Expedition 31 crew members will now begin several days of unloading and reloading operations with the world’s first commercial resupply vehicle.

Following Dragon’s ingress, Flight Engineers Don Pettit, Andre Kuipers and Joe Acaba discussed Dragon’s mission with reporters during a crew news conference.

The station crew will now begin the process of unloading the 1,014 pounds of cargo delivered in Dragon’s payload, which includes non-critical experiments, food, clothing and technology. Dragon then will be loaded with hardware and cargo no longer needed aboard the station in preparation for the spacecraft’s return to Earth.

Dragon is scheduled to spend six days berthed to the station before being detached and released on May 31 for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California for recovery.

The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launched Tuesday at 3:44 a.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a test flight to the station.

Friday, Pettit used the station’s robotic arm to grapple the vehicle. With the help of Pettit, Kuipers guided Dragon to the Earth‐facing side of the Harmony node, where it was berthed to the station.

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