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SpaceX Dragon supply ship arrives at space station

SpaceX's Dragon Capsule is seen on the end of the International Space Station's robotic arm on Sunday, March 3, 2013.
March 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A California based commercial cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station Sunday, loaded with a ton of supplies.

Station astronauts used a robot arm to grab the SpaceX unmanned capsule nicknamed "Dragon" out of orbit and bolt it into place.

The capsule's arrival came a day late, after a mechanical problem threatened the mission.

A clogged pressure line prevented the timely release of the solar panels and the crucial firing of small maneuvering rockets Friday. SpaceX flight controllers struggled for several hours before regaining control of the capsule.

Under contract, NASA is reportedly paying SpaceX $1.6 billion for 12 supply runs. The items on board the "Dragon" capsule included seeds of a flowering weed used for research, mouse stem cells, food and clothes for the six men on board the space station, trash bags, computer equipment, air purifiers, spacewalking tools, and batteries.

The capsule is set to return to Earth in late March with pounds of scientific materials, empty food containers and old station equipment.

This mission marks the third "Dragon" capsule to visit the manned outpost. The previous capsules had no trouble reaching their destination.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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