Dragon to Rendezvous with ISS Sunday Morning-UPDATE

Dragon to Rendezvous with ISS Sunday Morning-UPDATE

UPDATE:  March 2, 10:10 pm ET:   NASA says via its ISS website that the grapple time now is 6:31 am ET Sunday morning, 30 minutes later than earlier announced.

The problems with the thrusters on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft have been resolved and it is now scheduled to rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) tomorrow morning (Sunday) Eastern Standard Time (EST).

The rendezvous was postponed from today while the company and NASA ascertained Dragon’s health.  After launch yesterday, three of the four thruster pods failed to initiate.  During a telecon later in the day, officials said they were not certain what happened, but theorized it was a clogged oxidizer line or malfunctioning valve.   Actions taken by SpaceX resolved whatever the problem was.

Dragon now is scheduled to rendezvous with ISS early tomorrow and be captured (“grappled”) using ISS’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, at 6:01 am EST.   SpaceX will livestream the activity at http://spacex.com/webcast.  Dragon later will be installed (“berthed”) to a docking port on the ISS’s Harmony module where it will remain until March 25.  It then will unberth from the station and return to Earth.

NASA says on its ISS website that NASA TV coverage of the rendezvous and grapple will begin at 3:00 am EST and coverage of the berthing will start at 7:30 am EST.

This is SpaceX’s second “Commercial Resupply Service” or CRS mission to ISS and is designated CRS-2.   The spacecraft is carrying supplies and scientific equipment to the ISS crew.

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