This weekend, Hawthorne, California-based Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) became the first private entity in the world to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station. Here is a small gallery of images showing their Dragon space capsule approach its target.
Astronauts Donald Pettit (NASA) and Andre Kuipers (ESA) were inside the Cupola as Dragon approached. They used the vantage point the windowed dome provided to grapple the spacecraft mid-flight, using the Canadarm-2 robotic arm.
SpaceX is developing the unmanned space capsule under a $1.6 billion Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contract signed with the American space agency. The agreement calls for the company to carry out 12 resupply flights to the ISS over the coming years.
Though delayed multiple time, Dragon's successful launch and docking to the ISS proved that NASA was indeed correct to allow private spacecraft near the $100 billion space lab, Universe Today