The ISS Expedition 31 crew opened the hatch to the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft today at 11.53 CEST (09:53 UT). Wearing protective masks and goggles, as is customary for the opening of a hatch to any newly arrived vehicle at the station, NASA astronaut Don Pettit entered the Dragon with Station Commander Oleg Kononenko.
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Dragon spacecraft launches to ISS
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launched from Florida at 09:44 CEST (07:44 UT) today. Carrying a cargo that includes food and supplies for the Station crew, it is the first time a privately built spacecraft heads to the ISS.
Dragon is scheduled to rendezvous with the ISS on Friday 25 May, when Expedition 31 crewmembers André Kuipers and Don Pettit will use the Station's robotic arm Canadarm2 to grapple the spacecraft and manoeuvre it into position to mate with the Harmony module’s Earth-facing docking port.
All clear on ISS after close approach of space debris
International Space Station
The International Space Station crew took shelter in their Soyuz spacecraft earlier this morning when a piece of space debris made a close approach to the International Space Station.
The space debris was tracked from Friday morning and was predicted to pass the ISS at an estimated distance of 23 km at around 07:38 CET on Saturday morning. The late notification of a possible debris conjunction meant it was no longer possible to perform an orbit boost to move the Station clear of the debris. In such situations, it is a standard precautionary procedure for the crew to shelter in their Soyuz spacecraft.
The six ISS Expedition 30 crewmembers were awake one hour earlier than scheduled and entered their two Russian Soyuz spacecraft, where they waited for the debris to pass. The crew exited the Soyuz spacecraft once the all-clear was given by flight controllers in NASA's mission control centre in Houston.
Times in UTC
6/05 - ATV-4 moves to the BAF for final preparations
8/05 - ESA Operations Readiness Review
20/05 - Late-cargo loading
31/05 - Launch Readiness Review (planned)
5/06 Lift-off VA213 (planned) All dates subject to change