Without skipping a beat, he deadpanned, We’re thinking thissim[ulation] went really well. We’re ready to turn it around and doit for real, as applause and hugs broke out in two control rooms NASA’s and SpaceX’s at the company’s Hawthorne, Calif. , headquarters. Until its conclusion on May 31, the mission remains a test flight combining into one mission the objectives initially planned fortwo launches this year. But its success so far signals that acompany NASA has helped nurture can perform the difficult feat oflofting a craft capable of catching up with another spacecrafttraveling at faster-than-bullet speeds, matching its pace, andsafely docking with it something no other privately-operatedspacecraft has done. Welding Turning Rolls
Indeed, Dragon was not merely carrying a demonstration payload ofroughly 1,000 pounds of food, clothing, and other items to thespace station. It was carrying the hopes of a US commercial spaceflight industry aiming to build a thrivingspace-transportation sector in much the same way fledgling aircarriers emerged during the early decades of the 20th Century tobuild a thriving commercial air-transportation industry. Over the years, NASA officials have spoken of the firsts the USspace program has accomplished, said Michael Suffredini , space-station program manager at NASA, at a news briefing Fridayafternoon. This rates right at the top, he said of the partnership betweenNASA and SpaceX. NASA established requirements SpaceX had to meetoperating near the space station. Pipe Welding Rotator
Beyond those requirements, hesaid, a contractor relatively independent of NASA designed on itsown a spacecraft, [then] completely built and tested and flew thisspacecraft in a manner that has been remarkable. A space-station workout The rendezvous and docking Friday gave participating space-stationcrew members a workout. Although the process of grappling and berthing may look fairlysimple, it isn’t, notes astronaut Catherine Coleman, who grappled Japan ‘s cargo craft, known by its acronym HTV, on its second supplymission to the station in January 2011. She likens it to trying topass something from one car to another when both are travelingat interstate speeds. China Cnc Cutting Machines
On orbit, it’s a Grey Poupon moment at 17,500 miles an hour. This is truly a momentous accomplishment for SpaceX and for theindustry, said former astronaut and space-station commander Michael Lopez-Alegria , now president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation in Washington , in a prepared statement.