What the SpaceX Dragon Capture Looked Like From the Space Station

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The Dragon capsule: captured. This image shows the newly connected vehicles over the South Atlantic. (NASA TV)

Today, at 9:03 am EDT, SpaceX's Dragon capsule successfully docked with the International Space Station. The delivery is the first contracted resupply mission by the company under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract.

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Space station crew members Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Sunita Williams of NASA used the ISS's robotic arm to capture Dragon just before 6 am, as the station orbited 250 miles above the Pacific Ocean, just west of Baja California.

And with that began "a new era of exploration for the United States," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden put it this morning, noting that contracts with private firms like SpaceX will allow the agency to concentrate on "deep space human missions back around the moon, to an asteroid and eventually to Mars."

So now that capture is complete, what's next for the station crew? Unloading the capsule's nearly 1,000 pounds of cargo (including a special treat for the ISS astronauts: some vanilla-chocolate swirl ice cream). If all goes according to plan, Dragon will spend 18 days attached to the station before returning to Earth. 

Below are images of the capture, screen-capped from NASA TV's feed. Most offer shots taken from inside the ISS itself. 

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The Dragon capsule, attached by a robotic arm to the ISS (NASA TV)

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A closer-up shot of the Dragon (NASA TV)

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Sunita Williams controls the ISS's robotic arm from inside the ISS. (NASA TV)

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The Dragon capsule, as seen from the computer screen in the ISS command center (NASA TV)

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Another computer-screen shot of the Dragon capsule (NASA TV)

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Berthed! (NASA TV)

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A close-up shot of the Dragon connected to the Harmony node, the "utility hub" of the ISS (NASA TV)

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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide (right) anchors the Dragon into the Harmony node as NASA astronaut Sunita Williams looks on. (NASA TV)

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Sunita Williams prepares to take her turn in the hatch; note the amazing footwear. (NASA TV)

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Daybreak (NASA TV)

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SpaceX's Mission Control in Hawthorne, helping to orchestrate the berthing from the ground (NASA TV)
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Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic.

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