SpaceX has announced that its Dragon cargo ship arrived at the ISS on June 5. The mission was a cargo resupply mission carrying literal tons of fresh research experiments and supplies to the astronauts aboard the space station. The successful docking is part of the 22nd cargo resupply mission that SpaceX has undertaken.
The Dragon capsule had no crew aboard and was able to autonomously dock with the ISS at 5 AM EDT on Saturday, June 5. SpaceX says that its capsule is docked at the space-facing side of the ISS Harmony module. With the docking complete, there are now two Dragon cargo capsules linked up with the ISS.
The entire mission went off smoothly, and docking between the station and the capsule happened about 40 hours after the Falcon 9 rocket pushed the Dragon cargo capsule into space. The docking occurred over the South Pacific Ocean at an altitude of 258 miles above the surface.
Among the cargo in the Dragon capsule are new EVA solar arrays for the space station. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough said that it would be a “great few weeks” as crewmembers get inside the capsule and remove all the cargo. The Dragon CRS-22 mission is the second to be conducted with an upgraded supply ship that can dock with the ISS without any assistance from astronauts inside the station.
By limiting hardware inside the capsule required for the manual docking procedures, SpaceX was also able to increase the cargo capacity of the Dragon Cargo supply ship. The other SpaceX capsule currently attached to the ISS is a Crew Dragon that carried four astronauts to the space station in April. The Crew Dragon capsule will depart in the coming weeks.