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SpaceX's Dragon aborts planned docking with ISS

Editor: zhenglimin 丨Xinhua

02-22-2017 21:15 BJT

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- SpaceX's unmanned Dragon cargo spacecraft has missed Wednesday morning's planned docking with the International Space Station (ISS), said U.S. space agency NASA.

An abort was triggered by onboard computers on Dragon at 3:25 a.m. EST (0825 GMT) after recognizing an incorrect value in data about the location of the space station.

The spacecraft should automatically reset for another rendezvous and docking attempt in 24 hours. The Mission Control Center in Houston is evaluating the next attempt on Thursday morning for rendezvous, according to NASA.

"The spacecraft is in excellent shape with no issues and at no time were the crew members or the station itself at any danger," said a mission controller on NASA TV, adding that Dragon did exactly what it was supposed to do in the situation.

The spacecraft, which is carrying about 5,500 pounds (about 2.5 tons) of research equipment, cargo and supplies for its 10th commercial resupply mission for NASA, was supposed to be captured at 4:30 a.m. EST (0930 GMT) by European astronaut Thomas Pesquet and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, using the orbiting lab's robotic arm.

The equipment onboard Dragon includes a major instrument that will survey Earth's upper atmosphere in a continuation of one of NASA's longest-running Earth-observing programs. The 2,200-pound instrument, called SAGE III for Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment, will be connected to the outside of the station to make daily observations for several years.

Dragon was launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday morning from NASA's historic moon pad and will remain docked with the ISS about a month.

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