Dragon COTS 2,3 – Day 5 – Hatch Opening


After a long day of thruster burns yesterday, Dragon completed all of the tests for both the COTS-2 and COTS-3 requirements. Dragon was then given a Go to approach the International Space Station (ISS) first to the 30 meter mark and then to the 10 meter mark, where the SSRMS arm captured the spacecraft and berthed it to the Pressurized Mating Adapter (PMA2) on the Harmony Node.

The SpaceX/Dragon hatch opening coverage on NASA TV will begin at 0930 UTC, Saturday, 26 May.

At 0930, the crew has opened the PMA2 hatch and are now equalizing pressure between the Dragon and the Space Station.

Diagram of Dragon Location at the International Space Station
Image Credit: NASA TV

Dragon Hatch Closed Prior to Opening
Image Credit: NASA TV

As shown in the diagram above, left, Dragon is currently located on the nadir port of the Pressurized Mating Adaptor (PMA) located on the Harmony module.

The next step will be to open the hatch and place air vent tubes to prevent particles from Dragon getting in the eyes and lungs of the crew. Once the air is well mixed (about 20 minutes), the crew will move inside Dragon and begin work unloading the cargo. Total time for unloading is scheduled for 25 hours.

Upmass: 1014 lbs

  • 674 lbs food and provisions
  • 46 lbs utilization payload: nanoracksetc, icebricks
  • 271 lbs cargo bags
  • 22 lbs computer, batteries, etc.

Downmass: 1367 lbs

  • 315 lbs Crew items
  • 205 lbs Science experiments
  • 760 lbs Pump assembly and other hardware
  • 86 lbs Spacewalk gear

At 0953 UTC, the hatch on Dragon has been opened. The ISS is 253 miles above the Earth, near Auckland New Zealand.

Inside view of Dragon at ISS
Image Credit: NASA TV

Dragon Hatch Open
Image Credit: NASA TV

The crew has now installed the air ducts and will start the airflow. After 20 minutes, the crew can remove their masks and begin unloading the Dragon.

Don: “No sign of fog or dust floating, so ok to remove our masks. Size looks like it can fit in my pickup, and it smells like a new car”.

Megan: “We ask you to wear your dust masks per flight rules”.

So, the crew is anxious to get started, and Megan Benken at Cap Com says follow the rules.

One thought on “Dragon COTS 2,3 – Day 5 – Hatch Opening

  1. Pingback: May 2012 « NSS Phoenix Space News

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