Dragon docks at space station in historic first

The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft was held by a robotic arm and connected to the International Space Station on Friday. Dragon is scheduled to spend about a week docked at the station before returning to Earth for retrieval. Enlarge photo

NASA/Associated Press

The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft was held by a robotic arm and connected to the International Space Station on Friday. Dragon is scheduled to spend about a week docked at the station before returning to Earth for retrieval.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The first commercial supply ship is now part of the International Space Station.

Space station astronauts captured the SpaceX Dragon capsule and then docked it to the orbiting complex Friday, gladly taking part in the historic event.

The unmanned Dragon holds 1,000 pounds of supplies. The astronauts will open it up Saturday.

SpaceX is the first private company to attempt such a feat. Until now, only major governments have sent spacecraft to the space station.

NASA is turning over orbital supply missions to the commercial industry so it can focus on bigger, better objectives, like sending crews to Mars.

The billionaire mastermind behind SpaceX, Elon Musk, described the day’s events as “just awesome.” His company launched the Dragon from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday.