Canadarm tames Dragon
Canada's robotic arm on the International Space Station was put to work today when it grabbed a Dragon capsule that arrived at the orbiting space lab.
The unmanned Dragon, built by California-based SpaceX, is bringing supplies to the space station.
It was launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday. It's the second visit by a Dragon capsule to the orbiting lab. The first was a test flight last spring.
The Canadian Space Agency had earlier said NASA astronaut Sunita Williams and Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide would be at the controls of the robotic arm when the commercial supply ship arrived.
The capsule is carrying more than 450 kilograms of key science experiments. But it will also return twice as much cargo as it took up, including a stockpile of blood and urine samples from
The samples, nearly 500 of them, have been stashed in freezers since space shuttle Atlantis made the last shuttle flight in July 2011.
The Dragon will spend close to three weeks at the space station before being released and parachuting into the Pacific at the end of October.
NASA is counting on private business to restock the space station, now that U.S. shuttles have retired to museums.
SpaceX is working to convert its unmanned Dragon capsules into vessels that could carry astronauts to the space station in three years.