An unmanned SpaceX Dragon capsule today linked with the International Space Station (ISS) in orbit over Australia, becoming the first private spacecraft to connect with the orbiting base.
Astronaut Don Pettit captured the Dragon using the station's robotic arm at 09:56 EDT, or three days and six hours after the Dragon lifted off from Cape Canaveral en route to the ISS.
"It looks like we've got a Dragon by the tail," Pettit said, speaking on NASA's mission control feed. The capture event was briefly delayed after the Dragon's LIDAR sensor locked on to the wrong component on the ISS.
Nearly 15min later, Pettit and the ISS astronauts began working to install the Dragon into the station.
The Dragon was designed by SpaceX to ferry cargo and up to seven crewmembers to and from the ISS, replacing the retired Space Shuttle fleet.
It is performing the second of two demonstration flights, with this mission focused on achieving the first rendevous and berthing with the ISS in orbit.
The first commercial resupply services (CRS) mission by the Dragon capsule is scheduled to launch to the ISS in August.
In the CRS configuration, the Dragon can transport 3,310kg (7,300lb) of pressurised cargo to the ISS.