Mar 3, 2013 / 7:14 am
A privately owned Dragon capsule arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday, delivering a ton of supplies with high-flying finesse after a shaky start to the mission.
The Dragon's arrival was one day late but especially sweet, and not because of the fresh fruit on board for the station astronauts who snared the capsule.
SpaceX, the California-based company founded by billionaire Elon Musk, had to struggle with the Dragon following its launch Friday from Cape Canaveral. A clogged pressure line or stuck valve prevented thrusters from working, and it took flight controllers several hours to gain control and salvage the mission.
In the end, the Dragon approached the orbiting lab with its 1-ton load about as smoothly as could be expected, with all of its thrusters, or little manoeuvring rockets, operating perfectly. The capture occurred as the two spacecraft zoomed 250 miles above Ukraine.
"As they say, it's not where you start, but where you finish that counts," said space station commander Kevin Ford, "and you guys really finished this one on the mark."
He added: "We've got lots of science on there to bring aboard and get done. So congratulations to all of you."
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