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SpaceX has released a cool video (above) recapping the mission highlights of the historic May 22 blastoff of the firm’s Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft that went on to become the first privately developed vehicle in history to successfully dock to the International Space Station (ISS) on May 25, 2012.
Dragon was captured with a robotic arm operated by astronauts Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers working in tandem aboard the ISS as it approached the massive orbiting lab complex and was then berthed at an Earth facing port.
Dragon was the first US spacecraft to attach to the ISS since the retirement of NASA’s Space Shuttle program last July 2011 following the STS-135 mission of shuttle Atlantis. The 14.4 ft (4.4 meter) long resupply vehicle delivered over 1000 pounds of non-critical gear, food, clothing and science equipment to the ISS.
After spending six days at the ISS, the Dragon undocked and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean some 560 miles off the coast of California on May 31, 2012.
Image Caption: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket clears the tower after liftoff at 3:44 a.m. on May 22, 2012 from Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.,on the first commercial mission to loft the Dragon cargo resupply vehicle to the International Space Station. Credit: Ken Kremer/www.kenkremer.com
The Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo carrier were designed, developed and built by Hawthorne, Calif., based SpaceX Corporation, founded in 2002 by CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk.
SpaceX signed a contract with NASA in 2006 to conduct twelve Falcon 9/Dragon resupply missions to carry about 44,000 pounds of cargo to the ISS at a cost of some $1.6 Billion over the next few years. The first operational Dragon CRS mission is slated to blast off around October 2012.
Read my Universe Today articles starting here for further details about the historic SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon mission to the ISS.