Washington D.C. – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation congratulates SpaceX and NASA for the successful berthing of the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station today. NASA gave the green light for final approach after Dragon successfully demonstrated approach, pause and abort maneuvers, and other systems performance checks. SpaceX is the first private company in history to berth with the ISS.
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket on May 22 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. In the days preceding its berthing with the station, Dragon has performed systems checks, maintained communications, and demonstrated various hold and retreat maneuvers away from the Station and on approach. Once cleared by NASA, Dragon autonomously approached the Space Station, where it was grappled by the Station’s robotic arm and brought in to berth.
CSF President and former ISS commander Michael Lopez-Alegria said in a statement, “Tomorrow the six astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station will open the hatches to the first visiting vehicle from a private company. Future commercial cargo deliveries under NASA’s COTS and CRS programs will ensure that the ISS continues to be a resource for America and its international partners.
“This is truly a momentous accomplishment for SpaceX and for the industry. The capabilities of the commercial space industry grow by the day, and America is well on its way to having a diverse, cost-effective and dependable space transportation system. The entire team at SpaceX should be commended for their commitment and skill, and thanked for their contribution to restoring U.S. access to the Space Station.”
About the COTS Program
The Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) is a NASA program created in 2006 to work with the private sector to develop safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to the International Space Station. The program is fixed-price, milestone-based, and requires cost-sharing with the private sector to protect taxpayer dollars and incentivize performance.
About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation
The mission of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is to promote the development of commercial human spaceflight, pursue ever-higher levels of safety, and share best practices and expertise throughout the industry. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s member companies, which include commercial spaceflight developers, operators, spaceports, suppliers, and service providers, are creating thousands of high-tech jobs nationwide, working to preserve American leadership in aerospace through technology innovation, and inspiring young people to pursue careers in science and engineering. For more information please visit www.commercialspaceflight.org or contact Assistant Director Sirisha Bandla at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 202.349.1120.