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SpaceX and NASA have confirmed that a Dragon capsule will be making a test flight, and hopefully delivery run to the International Space Station early next year. Their email newsletter includes some nice pictures (see link).


NASA Announces: Dragon to the Space Station, SpaceX.com (15 Dec 2011)

Dragon will approach to within a few meters of the ISS, allowing astronauts to reach out and grapple Dragon with the Station’s robotic arm and then maneuver it carefully into place. The entire process will take a few hours.

Once in place, Station astronauts will equalize the pressure between the ISS and Dragon, open the hatches, enter the vehicle and begin unloading Dragon’s cargo.

After Dragon spends about a week berthed at the ISS, astronauts will reverse the process, loading Dragon with cargo for return to Earth, sealing the hatches, and un-berthing Dragon using the robotic arm.

I am thoroughly looking forward to this flight, and wish SpaceX the best of luck. We hope to have a representative for KiwiSpace at Kennedy Space Center to cover the launch, and the rest of the mission.

And see the picture of the Falcon 9 on the side, I was lucky enough to stand half-a-metre away from that exact rocket a few months ago (smile)