CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Space station astronauts have captured the Dragon.
The privately bankrolled Dragon capsule arrived at the International Space Station on Friday, making history as the first commercial delivery truck in orbit.
Astronauts Donald Pettit and Andre Kuipers used the space station's robot arm to snare the Dragon after a few hours of extra maneuvering.
NASA is handing over routine orbital flights to private business so it can concentrate on grander destinations like asteroids and Mars. The California-based SpaceX company is leading the charge under billionaire Elon Musk, who helped create PayPal.
Dragon will remain at the space station for nearly a week. It will be freed next Thursday to return to Earth with a load of experiments.
A privately bankrolled spacecraft is getting ever closer to the International Space Station for a historic docking today.
The SpaceX Dragon capsule contains a half-ton of supplies. The station's crew will use a robot arm to snare the Dragon.
On Thursday, the unmanned capsule came within 1½ miles of the space station in a practice fly-by. Early Friday, it returned to the neighborhood.
This is the first time a private company has launched a vessel to the space station, joining a small, elite group of governments. President Barack Obama is pushing commercial ventures in orbit so NASA can concentrate on grander destinations like asteroids and Mars.
The California-based SpaceX is run by Paypal's billionaire creator, Elon Musk.
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