CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A private Earth-to-orbit service made good on its latest shipment to the International Space Station on Sunday, overcoming mechanical difficulty to deliver a ton of supplies.
To NASA’s relief, the SpaceX company’s Dragon capsule pulled up to the orbiting lab with all of its systems in perfect order. Station astronauts used a hefty robot arm to snare the pilotless Dragon.
The Dragon’s arrival came a full day late. The 250-mile-high linkup above Ukraine culminated a two-day chase that got off to a shaky start.
Moments after the Dragon reached orbit Friday, a clogged pressure line or stuck valve prevented the timely release of the solar panels and the firing of small maneuvering rockets. Flight controllers struggled for several hours before gaining control of the capsule.
Among the items on board: 640 seeds of a flowering weed used for research, mouse stem cells, food and clothes for the six men on board the space station, trash bags, computer equipment, air purifiers, and spacewalking tools. The company also tucked away apples and other fresh treats from an employee’s family orchard.