Astronauts Enter World's First Private Supply Ship
Space station astronauts floated into the Dragon on Saturday, a day after its heralded arrival as the world's first commercial supply ship.
NASA astronaut Donald Pettit, the first one into the docked capsule, said it reminded him of the cargo capability of his pickup truck back home in Houston.
To protect against possible debris, Pettit wore goggles, a mask and a caver's head 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.
The California-based SpaceX - formally Space Exploration Technologies Corp. - is the first private company to send a vessel to the space station.
It's run by Elon Musk, a billionaire who helped create PayPal and founded the electric car company Tesla Motors.
NASA is handing over orbital delivery work to American business in order to focus on bigger and better objectives, such as getting astronauts to asteroids and Mars.
The space agency hopes astronaut ferry trips will follow soon; SpaceX contends its Dragons could be carrying space station astronauts up and down within three or four years.
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- Evening News, May 22, 2013