Dragon CRS-9 docked to ISS Harmony module

SpaceX Dragon docked successfully to Harmony module after over 48 hours space journey for International Space Station.

Dragon was launched on atop of Falcon-9 FT rocket from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral AFS on July 18, 2016. It was planned that spacecraft will wait on orbit, until Russian cargo spacecraft Progress MS-03 will reach ISS and dock securely. Finally today in the early morning Dragon could safely get close to ISS and after being grabbed by Canadarm2 robotic arm it docked to Earth facing Harmony module docking port. Whole procedure was supervised by NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston and SpaceX Control Center located in Hawthorne. Canadarm2 was directly operated by astronaut Jeff Williams from Cupola module (with Kate Rubins as backup); Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi was also participating in docking-he was designated as additional support for Jeff Williams and his task was to evaluate distance and position of the Dragon before using Canadarm2. Final moment of grabbing Dragon with Canadarm2 was planned for 11:00 GMT.

SpaceX Dragon reached distance of 30 m from ISS at 09:55 GMT, 15 minutes earlier then it was originally planned; it hold this position until Houston Control Center along with SpaceX Control Center decided to continue approach to 10 m distance. Decision was made after few minutes  and at 10:39 GMT Dragon was already 10 meters beneath the Station; final hour of grabbing spacecraft with robotic arm was set for 10:55 GMT. Command from Houston was given around 10:42 GMT and Jeff Williams started to move Canadarm2 to Dragon. Finally at 10:56 GMT spacecraft was caught with robotic arm; at that moment International Space Station was passing over Great Lakes in North America on altitude of 402 km. Next phase of docking will be performed without engaging crew members. Moving Canadarm2 to Earth facing port of Harmony module will be controlled by specialists in Houston Control Center. After docking, sealing and leak check, crew members will be able to transfer cargo to Station.

Dragon spacecraft delivered to International Space Station supplies and scientific experiments with total weight of 2500 kg. Most important payload was not fitted into pressurized section of the spacecraft, but in unpressurized trunk on the bottom of service module. It is International Docking Adapter (IDA). Originally it was planned to deliver it during CRS-7 mission, but that flight became failure due the explosion of Falcon-9 rocket shortly after liftoff on June 28, 2015.  International Docking Adapter, which weighs 526 kg with height of 110 cm, width of 160 cm, will be extracted from Dragon later this summer. After unpacking it will be placed with Canadarm2 to attach it to PMA-2 (Pressurized Mating Adapter) of Harmony module and installed during planned EVA.