17:43 CEST (15:43 UT): Station crew given the go to manoeuvre Dragon to the install position…
17:33 CEST (15:33 UT): ESA astronaut André Kuipers will be at the controls of the Station’s robotic arm to manoeuvre Dragon into position for berthing with the Earth-facing port on the Harmony module.
16:00 CEST (14:00 UT): The Expedition 31 crew will now work to manoeuvre the Dragon into position for berthing to the Harmony module, Node 2.
15:56 CEST (13:56 UT): Dragon is captured. Don Pettit: “Looks like we got ourselves a Dragon by the tail!”. Watch a replay of the capture.
15:50 CEST (13:50 UT): Mission control has just given the Station crew the go for Dragon capture. Don Pettit will operate the robotic arm to grapple the spacecraft.
15:40 CEST (13:40 UT): Capture now estimated for 16:02 CEST (14:02 UT)14:00 CEST (12:00 UT): Capture is now scheduled for 15:10 CEST (13:10 UT) so that it can be done in daylight. Dragon had made an unscheduled hold at 150 m, slightly delaying the capture to a time that the ISS would have been in Earth’s shadow. Controllers are analysing Dragon’s thermal imager data. André and Don continue to monitor the approach from inside the Cupola.
Late last night Space Station managers gave the go-ahead for the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to rendezvous and berth with the ISS. Dragon is currently approaching the ISS and is due to be grappled by Expedition 31 crewmembers Don Pettit and André Kuipers using the Station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, at around 13:59 CEST (11:59 UT).
A series of tests performed on Thursday demonstrated that the Station crew are able to send commands to the spacecraft. Dragon also performed a test of its Relative GPS system, which uses the relative positions of the spacecraft to the Space Station to determine its location.
Once grappled, André and Don will manoeuvre the robotic arm to berth Dragon with the Harmony module’s Earth-facing docking port. Berthing is scheduled for 17:20 CEST (15:20 UT). Hatch opening between the ISS and the newly arrived spacecraft is scheduled to take place on Saturday.
Launched from Florida on Tuesday, the Dragon spacecraft is carrying food and supplies for the Station crew. It will be the first time a privately built spacecraft has visited the ISS.