Monday, October 8, 2012

How to See SpaceX's Dragon Capsule in Night Sky

by Joe Rao, Skywatching Columnist

Date: 07 October 2012 Time: 08:35 PM ET
Dragon Streaks into the Sky
SpaceX's unmanned Dragon capsule rises into the Florida sky on the night of Oct. 7, 2012.
SpaceX's Dragon capsule launched Sunday (Oct. 7) on the first-ever bona fide commercial cargo run to the International Space Station, and skywatchers in parts of North America will be able to watch it chase down the orbiting lab over the next few nights.

On Monday and Tuesday (Oct. 8 and 9), the unmanned Dragon capsule and the space station will be visible as separate entities, appearing as "stars" sailing across the evening’s twilight sky. On Wednesday (Oct. 10) at 7:32 a.m. EDT (1132 GMT), the station's robotic arm will grapple

Dragon and attach it a connecting port. So by Wednesday evening, both spacecraft will appear as a single bright moving "star."

The space station makes one full circuit of the Earth every 91.5 minutes. Shortly after launching atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:35 p.m. EDT Sunday (0035 Monday GMT), Dragon trailed the orbiting lab by about 10 minutes. 

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