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SpaceX successfully delivers docking ring to International Space Station

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo ship launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on July 18. A second docking ring is due to be delivered in 2017, NASA said. Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters Houston, TX, United States Jul 20, 2016, 04.39 PM (IST)
Elon Musk's SpaceX spacecraft was successfully installed to the International Space Station today, a crucial step in enabling US commercial space taxis to ferry astronauts to the orbiting lab, NASA said.

The SpaceX Dragon capsule was filled with nearly 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms) of pressurised cargo such as food and crew supplies, including one of two metal docking rings with a diameter of 7.8 feet (2.4 metres).

The ring will be attached to the station, letting commercial spaceships under development by SpaceX and Boeing Co ferry astronauts to the station. The metal docking ring will serve as a parking space for commercial spaceships under development by SpaceX and Boeing. The manned craft are scheduled to begin test flights next year.

Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, tried last year to deliver a ring for the first time, but the equipment was destroyed during a launch accident. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo ship launched at 12:45 am EDT (0445 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on July 18.

The final stage of today's installation occurred at 10:03 am EDT (1403 GMT). A second docking ring is due to be delivered in 2017, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, said.

Owned and operated by Musk, the technology entrepreneur who founded Tesla Motors Inc, SpaceX is developing rockets that can be refurbished and re-used, potentially slashing launch costs. So far, it has successfully landed a Falcon on the ground once and on an ocean platform in three out of its last four attempts.

(Reuters)
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