Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
ISS NASA Space Science

ISS Robotic Arm Captures Dragon Capsule 147

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the capitalists-...-in-space! dept.
puddingebola writes "From the aricle, 'The SpaceX Dragon capsule has been successfully grabbed by the International Space Station, marking the first time a private American space flight has run a supply mission to the orbiting platform. The crew of the ISS snatched Dragon out of orbit ahead of schedule, using the space station's robotic arm to guide the capsule in after its careful approach.' NASA has also posted video of the docking."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

ISS Robotic Arm Captures Dragon Capsule

Comments Filter:
  • Video of the capture (Score:5, Informative)

    by 2phar (137027) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @09:02AM (#41606375)
    • by 2phar (137027)
      And it's just now officially installed (2nd stage) as of 9:03am EST
    • by stjobe (78285) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @09:30AM (#41606617) Homepage

      That video... sure isn't action-packed.

      At first I thought I was watching a scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

      Like 2001, this video is interesting but slow :)

      • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@@@netzero...net> on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @10:09AM (#41606999) Homepage Journal

        There is a reason it looks like 2001: A Space Odyssey.

        That movie was based upon reality due to the fact that the director, Stanley Kubrick, wanted to portray something realistic considering that there were real spacecraft going to real places (like the Moon) at the time he was making and released the film. Most other "science fiction" movies gloss over this reality in a horrible way. The only time you get something action packed is when something goes horribly wrong... and perhaps at launch when huge amounts of energy are being released.

        Then again do you enjoy watching videos of your father parking his car in the driveway?

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          There is a reason it looks like 2001: A Space Odyssey. That movie was based upon reality due to the fact that the director, Stanley Kubrick, wanted to portray something realistic considering that there were real spacecraft going to real places (like the Moon) at the time he was making and released the film.

          Compare 2001 with Apollo 13. None of Apollo 13 was boring, and it was as accurate a depiction of the actual event that they could do. They even shot the in-capsule space scenes in the Vomit Comet. What ma

          • by 68kmac (471061)

            Sounds like you would enjoy this version of 2001 [youtube.com] ...

          • by dpilot (134227)

            But then again, in Apollo 13, something did go horribly wrong. It was nip and tuck several times whether or not they would survive. Had the mission gone as planned, it would have been quite boring, and they never would have made a movie of it. Don't forget that by the later Apollo missions there was practically no TV coverage at all. Though there was good TV coverage of the Apollo 17 liftoff from the moon, since that was the first time it could ever be seen live. I certainly was glued to the screen, at

          • by quacking duck (607555) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @11:43AM (#41608225)

            The slowest space scene in Apollo 13 was when the command+service module separated from the 3rd stage, then flipped 180 degrees to dock with and extract the lunar module. The whole scene took a minute or so, with tense music accompaniment.

            In reality it would've taken much longer; on Apollo 17 it took 15 minutes just to dock, and some more time to check everything before extraction. On Apollo 14 it took six attempts and over two hours, before they finally docked successfully. Apollo 13 is one of my favourite movies, but it's still Hollywood entertainment, with pacing and embellishments to match, and not a documentary or realistic depiction of events.

            The video capture of Dragon is far more like 2001, for example the two scenes where space pods are deployed. In both cases you can say the model shots lasted way too long, but that's Teancum's point: it's reality, or pretty close to it in the case of 2001, so naturally they are both "slow".

          • by Chris Burke (6130)

            What made parts of 2001 boring was the model shots, which lasted way too long. It wasn't the story, but how the story was told.

            Yes, and the way it was told was integral to the story being told, and it was told in a perfect way. It was slow, it was deliberate, it was quiet and brooding, it was space travel. This was reflected in a lot more than just the model shots.

            I won't tell you it wasn't boring. I don't find it boring at all, but I certainly can understand how you could.

            But 2001 shot like Apollo 13 would not have been better. It would have been a much worse movie. Apollo 13 was done right for what it was, which is not what

        • by Sulphur (1548251)

          There is a reason it looks like 2001: A Space Odyssey.

          That movie was based upon reality due to the fact that the director, Stanley Kubrick, wanted to portray something realistic considering that there were real spacecraft going to real places (like the Moon) at the time he was making and released the film. Most other "science fiction" movies gloss over this reality in a horrible way. The only time you get something action packed is when something goes horribly wrong... and perhaps at launch when huge amounts of energy are being released.

          Then again do you enjoy watching videos of your father parking his car in the driveway?

          Like parking your car in your garage ... at eighty miles per hour.

          • by Cytotoxic (245301)

            Like parking your car in your garage ... at eighty miles per hour.

            More like parking your car in a garage that's moving at 80 miles per hour while driving at 80.05 miles per hour.

            • by Sulphur (1548251)

              Like parking your car in your garage ... at eighty miles per hour.

              More like parking your car in a garage that's moving at 80 miles per hour while driving at 80.05 miles per hour.

              Your post is excellent; mine is wrong.

      • by jeti (105266)

        Yeah. Space travel was more exciting before I was a kid:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bLH11-DbqM [youtube.com]

      • It's the last three minutes of a multi-day rocket maneuver ... life isn't like a Michael Bay movie (thankfully).

  • While it's most convenient to have superpower governments concentrate wealth and use their military research to make space exploration possible, humanity's need for space exploration interprets a lack of funding as an obstacle and routes around it.

    The real challenge now is finding a profit model. For the time being, space flight will be used to ferry celebrities into outer orbit, but in the future, our species will need to discover either outright profit or some way to subsidize the exploration of space its

    • by medcalf (68293)
      SpaceX's explicit goal is to get to Mars, and to do that, they're making it a paying proposition at almost every step of the way.
    • The real challenge now is finding a profit model

      There will never be a profit model for exploration - Or, if there is one, the profits will be so many generations into the future to make it not worthwhile calculating (mining unobtainium on asteroids or on Pandora 300 years from now). Will there be profit in space travel one day? Sure - But not exploration.

      • There will never be a profit model for exploration

        Nonsense. You think the Americas were explored just because of curiosity? No, it was because people were exploring FOR something. Land, resources, minerals, etc. They didn't always know what they would find and they had to be flexible but they didn't go exploring just for the heck of it. Oil and mining companies explore for mineral wealth all the time. You can do exploration with a perfectly sensible profit model. The limitations to space exploration are economic and technological but not the lack of

        • The 'new world' isn't a valid comparison to space travel. The new world was able to be explored and exploited with a good ROI with techology available at that time. We have no means today to go 'explore' Alpha Centauri to see if there's anything there worth exploiting, and certainly no means to bring anything back - And no investor is going to fund such a thing because you won't see returns for 300 years. Will the free market take us to the moon? Probably, eventually, but not to deep space.
          • That's absurd.

            Humanity will live on ships in space. Not just on planets. The ships will recycle to degrees you never thought possible: purifying waste, reusing vitamins and minerals and using photosynthesis or similar chemical reactions to get energy from the most widely available energy sources.

            Landing on a rock is all well and good, but space travel should not be about how far you can go. It should be about understanding that movement little-by-little will happen. If we find a way to travel at the speeds

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @09:09AM (#41606435) Homepage Journal

    I don't have time to read all the details, but I don't think we should be messing with any dragons.

    I've read enough books to know it usually doesn't end well.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I thought you had kids? Didn't you see Pete's Dragon? And I thought you were a geezer, you never heard "Puff, the Magic Dragon"?

  • by jfholcomb (60309) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @09:14AM (#41606483)

    Anyone else think that the reason they got it done so fast was the little freezer full of ice cream on board?

  • During the ascent the Falcon 9 lost an engine [discovermagazine.com]. Apparently a single engine fault is something that the Falcon 9 is designed for and can continue the mission on 8 engines.

    • by Talderas (1212466)

      IIRC, it's the only rocket that can lose an engine or two and still complete it's primary mission. The last rocket that could do that was the Saturn V.

      • Yes but... (Score:2, Informative)

        by gr8_phk (621180)

        IIRC, it's the only rocket that can lose an engine or two and still complete it's primary mission. The last rocket that could do that was the Saturn V.

        Great, but they've had 1 engine out in 2 launches. It's fantastic that they have demonstrated that redundancy but at this point in time it's a terrible demonstration of reliability. If we extrapolate a bit (and I'm not a great statistics guy) they should be expecting a dual engine failure about 1/4 of launches and a triple failure probably around 1/10 launch

        • Re:Yes but... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Talderas (1212466) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @10:30AM (#41607233)

          http://xkcd.com/605/ [xkcd.com]

          Describes you. I think.

        • by Vulch (221502)

          One engine failure in four Falcon 9 launches, not two. The vehicle has done a test flight with a dummy payload, launched a proper Dragon for a two orbit mission, and now launched two Dragons to the ISS.

          • by Teancum (67324)

            SpaceX has had two significant engine failures out of 45 Merlin 1 engines that have been fired for attempted spaceflight missions, with a couple other mishaps including an unfortunate smashing together of the 1st and 2nd stages of a Falcon 1. The first engine was a major screw-up because the engineers in charge forgot to account for galvanometric corrosion... and the engine fell apart in the first few seconds of flight in a spectacular fashion. Arguably SpaceX has learned a whole lot from that initial inc

        • by dpilot (134227)

          I thought I read that they had an engine failure in last May's launch, too.

          Also, can the Falcon 9 fly one-engine-down from any point after launch? The GP mentions the Saturn V being able to run one-engine-down, but that was only after a certain point into the flight. They needed all 5 F-1s for at least the first minute or two.

          The space shuttle could also run one-engine-down, after a certain point during the launch. I believe I also remember hearing them mark a two-engine-down point, where they could comp

          • by tibit (1762298)

            Go to the reliability section -- was that really that hard?! [lmgtfy.com] There's being lazy, and then there's you, and there's this big chasm in between.

            • by dpilot (134227)

              This is Slashdot - I was just being lazy, and this is one place to do it. Besides, on other sub-threads there was such amazement at one-engine-down operation, and incorrect statements like, "We haven't been able to do that since the Saturn V."

              I'm surprised to see that the Falcon can complete the entire mission on 8 engines from any point. That says that they've paid a significant weight penalty to achieve that redundancy. NASA vehicles have only been able to declare an engine (or two) redundant after a c

        • Actually, F9 has launched 4 times.
        • by tibit (1762298)

          At this point in time it's nothing of the sort. You can't reliably predict from merely the success rate (engine OK vs. engine lost) of those two launches any sort of an expected failure rate, even if you narrow it down to certain failure modes. You're not only "not a great statistics guy", you never bothered to learn the basics. It's not hard, you just didn't try, that's all.

        • by Chris Burke (6130)

          If we extrapolate a bit (and I'm not a great statistics guy) they should be expecting a dual engine failure about 1/4 of launches and a triple failure probably around 1/10 launches. I doubt they can cope with that.

          Oh my god that's worse than the math that was done in the last thread.

          You can't go from "odds that at least one engine has failed in a test" to "odds that two engines will fail in a test" like that. You have to start with the engine failure rate, which is 1 of 9 engines in 4 launches, or 1/36. And no the odds of two engines failing is not 2/36.

    • a single engine fault is something that the Falcon 9 is designed for and can continue the mission

      "Thirteen, we're not sure why the inboard cut out early, but the other engines are go, so we're just gonna burn those remaining engines for a little bit longer."

  • Is this spacecraft going to be docking automatically in the future? Something that the early soyuz (read ~1970) already did.

    Best
    -S

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Soyuz was docking automatically with the ISS in 1970? You've answered your own question. Soyuz has been around a long time. The bugs have been worked out (for the most part). Dragon has been to the ISS twice and has been in operation for only a year or so. There's no reason to rush automatic docking and a huge reason to not rush it. You know, breaking the ISS and killing everyone inside if it goes wrong. ISS crashing to earth crushing a family of 20.

    • One thing that you will find is that Soyuz is incapable of sending up larger cargo. In particular, they can not send up a space rack. That is because the opening of their docking mechanism is quite a bit smaller than both NASA's docking AND berthing ports. Russia uses the APAS-89 which has .8M diameter. The Shuttle used APAS-95 docking which is bigger than APAS-89, but smaller than CBM.

      Now, NASA has developed the NASA docking System, which is referred to as LIDS, and adopted by the international communi [wikipedia.org]
  • At the point on the capsule to which the arm will attach, the three metal pieces, are they magnetic? If not, does the arm have "fingers" which latch on to those points? Doesn't the act of pressing against the capsule to capture it invoke Newton's Law of opposite and equal reactions?

    Why only one robot arm? Wouldn't it be better to have two arms so you don't apply as much torque to the one arm and make it easier to guide the capsule in?

    I'm presuming with the use of maneuvering jets they were able to get the

    • by tibit (1762298)

      1. The capsule has quite a bit of inertia, so if you nudge it slightly, it will only react, well, slightly. There, all nice and qualitative, no math involved :)

      2. The latching mechanism is designed to have effectively zero mating force. The mating force comes from actuators on the robot arm. Once the grappler is in position (prior to any contact), it will pull the Dragon in, not push on it. Again, qualitatively speaking and ignoring some details.

      3. You design the arm to apply sufficient torque, like, duh. H

FORTH IF HONK THEN

Working...