Astronauts Enter the Dragon

World's first commercial supply ship has 'new car' smell
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 26, 2012 2:59 PM CDT
Astronauts Enter the Dragon
Space station astronaut Donald Pettit, left, gives a "thumbs-up" after floating through the door of the Dragon, as other astronauts follow, Saturday, May 26, 2012.   (AP Photo/NASA)

Space station astronauts floated into the Dragon today, a day after its heralded arrival as the world's first commercial supply ship. NASA astronaut Donald Pettit, the first one inside the docked capsule, said the Dragon looks like it carries about as much cargo as his pickup truck back home in Houston. It has the smell of a brand new car, he added. "I spent quite a bit of time poking around in here this morning, just looking at the engineering and the layout, and I'm very pleased," Pettit said from the brilliant white compartment.

To protect against possible debris, Pettit wore goggles, a mask, and a caver's light as he slid open the hatch of the newest addition to the International Space Station. The complex sailed 250 miles above the Tasman Sea, just west of New Zealand, as he and his crewmates made their grand entrance. "This event isn't just a simple door opening between two spacecraft," said an advocacy group. "It opens the door to a future in which US industry can and will deliver huge benefits for US space exploration." (More Dragon spacecraft stories.)

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