LA Times-- By W.J Hennigan
SpaceX's cargo-carrying Dragon spacecraft docked with the International Space Station in a historic first for spaceflight.
The unmanned, cone-shaped capsule became the first privately built and operated vehicle to ever dock to the orbiting outpost at 9:02 a.m. PDT.
Shortly after docking, a smiling Elon Musk, SpaceX's 40-year-old billionaire founder and chief executive, appeared in a press briefing at the company's sprawling rocket-making facility in Hawthorne.
"This is the culmination of an incredible amount of work," he said, surrounded by a throng of cheering SpaceX workers. "There's so much that could've went wrong and it went right."
The arrival of the Dragon to the space station wasn't flawless. A problem with the spaceraft's onboard sensors pushed back the capture for about two hours later than planned.
After SpaceX engineers solved the issue, the Dragon floated in for docking. It was first grappled by the space station’s 58-foot robotic arm at 6:56 a.m. PDT, controlled by astronaut Don Pettit. Then, it was drawn in closer, inch-by-inch, to docking.
The Dragon has spent the last three days circling the Earth.
NASA officials said the crew plans to begin unloading the half ton of food, water and clothes aboard Dragon at 4:40 a.m. Saturday.