NASA engineers used a robotic arm today (March 6) to unpack the first exterior cargo ever delivered to the International Space Station by an American-built commercial supply ship.
A robotics team at NASA Mission Control in Houston remotely controlled the space station's 58-foot (17 meters) Canadarm2 robotic arm to unload two so-called grapple bars from the unpressurized "trunk" of the privately built unmanned Dragon space capsule. The Dragon's trunk is a cylindrical cargo section beneath the spacecraft's re-entry module.
The Dragon spacecraft, built by the private spaceflight company SpaceX, launched to the space station on Friday (March 1) and arrived two days later to deliver about 1,200 pounds (544 kilograms) of supplies to the orbiting lab. The mission is SpaceX's second of 12 commercial cargo deliveries for NASA under a $1.6 billion agreement.