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SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft berthed* to the International Space Station at approximately 8:56 a.m. EST Sunday, installed onto the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module. At 1:14 p.m. EST, astronauts on board the ISS opened Dragon's hatch and begin unloading cargo. Dragon arrived to station with over 2,300 pounds of pressurized and unpressurized cargo and packaging to ensure safe travel, and during the next 22 days, astronauts will unload and then load cargo, including materials to support critical science experiments. Dragon will return to Earth with over 3,000 pounds of cargo, and has a targeted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja, Calif. on March 25. Dragon is the only spacecraft in the world today capable of returning significant amounts of cargo to Earth.
“SpaceX is proud to execute this important work for NASA, and we’re thrilled to bring this capability back to the United States,” said Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX. “Today’s launch continues SpaceX’s long-term partnership with NASA to provide reliable, safe transport of cargo to and from the station, enabling beneficial research and advancements in technology and research.”
*Berthing means attaching to the International Space Station under the guidance of the station's robotic arm. Berthing occurs after the station's robotic arm grapples or captures the spacecraft and guides it in to attach to the International Space Station. When Dragon begins to fly crew, the spacecraft will dock with station--attaching directly without the use of the robotic arm.
For real-time updates on mission progress, visit www.spacex.com/webcast.