CRS-16 Dragon arrives at ISS after terrestrial communication problem


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SpaceX's CRS-16 Dragon was captured by the crew of the space station, despite a communication problem that led to the issue of a temporary withdrawal command.


The CRS-16 dragon's capsule approaches the International Space Station. Photo courtesy of: Alexander Gerst / ESA

The CRS-16 dragon's capsule approaches the International Space Station. Photo courtesy of: Alexander Gerst / ESA

SpaceX's CRS-16 Dragon capsule was captured by the six-person crew on Expedition 57 of the International Space Station, despite a communication problem that led to the issue of a temporary withdrawal command.

After three days of reaching the ISS after launch on December 5, 2018, the capsule reached its waiting point 10 meters below the Destiny laboratory, at about 6:00 AM New York time. 8. There, he waited for the crew to use the 17.7 meter Canadarm2 to reach and capture the spacecraft. However, a ground-based grounding issue was noticed by ground crews, and control of the Houston mission ordered the crew to issue a withdrawal command, taking Dragon to a 30-foot foothold.

According to NASA, the communications issue resulted from a failed processor at a ground station in White Sands, New Mexico. The processor connects the mission control to the Trace System and Data Relay Satellite network

As soon as the communications returned, the team tried again at 6:50 am (Brasília time). The dragon moved away from its 30-meter holding point and moved slowly to its catch point 32 feet (10 meters) below the outpost.

Capture officially took place at 7:21 EST (12:21 GMT) by Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst, who was at the controls of Canadarm2.

"We confirmed the capture. The arm is safe, "Gerst said after the capture. "The crew of International Space Station Expedition 57 would like to congratulate NASA, SpaceX and international partners for the successful launch and capture of the 16th Dragon SpaceX cargo refueling mission, allowing the ISS program to continue to carry out its scientific program in this the only laboratory on earth. orbit. We also congratulate the entire ISS team for managing six individual spacecraft that will be simultaneously coupled to the International Space Station as of today. This shows the successful science and exploration program we have here, making full use of the only microgravity laboratory that humankind has available for the benefit of all humans on planet Earth. "

In the next two hours, the arm was used remotely by ground crews to move the vehicle to the Harmony module port, where it will be moored for about a month. Installation took place around 10:36 EST (15:36 GMT).

The Dragon was launched at 12h16 (GMT) at the space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. After his brief orbit, he began his three-day chase with more than 2,500 pounds of science, supplies, and other equipment. After the opening of the hatch on December 9, the crew will begin to unload the spacecraft from its contents.

This concludes a period of visiting occupied vehicles for the International Space Station program. In less than three weeks, four spacecraft arrived at the outpost: Russia's Progress MS-10 cargo spacecraft on Nov. 18, Northrup Grumman's NG-10 Cygnus spacecraft on Nov. 19, the Russian Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft with three new crew members. December 3 and today's CRS-16 Dragon.

In total, six spacecraft are attached to the outpost, a rare occurrence. The other two vehicles are the Progress MS-09, which arrived in July 2018, and the Soyuz MS-09, which arrived in June 2018.

Two more main activities remain for the ISS program before the end of 2018. On December 11, a Russian space walk is scheduled to be held by the two Russian cosmonauts aboard the outpost: Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev. Then, on December 20, Soyuz MS-09 is ready to return to Earth with Gerst, Prokopyev and NASA astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor after their 6.5-month stay in orbit.

Once the Soyuz MS-09 has landed, Expedition 57 will officially complete Expedition 58, which will include Kononenko's trio, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques. Kononenko will serve as commander of Expedition 58.

Video provided by SpaceX

Tagged: CRS 16 Dragon Expedition 57 International Space Station Stories of lead NASA SpaceX

Derek Richardson

Derek Richardson is a graduate of mass media, with an emphasis on contemporary journalism, at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While in Washburn, he was the editor-in-chief of the student paper, the Washburn Review. He also has a blog about the International Space Station called Orbital Velocity. He met with members of the SpaceFlight Insider team during the flight of an Atlas V 551 rocket from the United Launch Alliance with the MUOS-4 satellite. Richardson joined our team soon after.

His passion for space was inflamed as he watched the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery in space on October 29, 1998. Today, that fervor accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing. After becoming interested in math and engineering courses in college, he soon realized that his true calling was communicating with others about space. Since joining SpaceFlight Insider in 2015, Richardson has worked to increase the quality of our content by becoming our managing editor. @TheSpaceWriter


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