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Relief all round as SpaceX’s second Dragon is captured

dragon-capture

The second private enterprise mission to supply the International Space Station has succeeded despite issues with three of the craft’s four thruster pods.  Once it reached orbit on Friday atop a Falcon 9 launch vehicle, a propellant valve malfunction threatened to prevent it deploying the solar array to give it power.  Successful trouble-shooting from the ground managed to get the thrusters back on line, and the robotic arm of the ISS successful grabbed it from orbit as it manoeuvred itself into proximity.

The reusable capsule is carrying nearly 1300 pounds of supplies, new equipment and scientific experiments, and will splash down at the end of the month similarly packed with a return load of equipment and spent supplies.  A failure might have given the development of private space-worthy vehicles a nasty hiccup, so it’s relief all round as it goes ahead with a successful mission.

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