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Donald R. Pettit

Private Dragon Spacecraft Is 'Golden Spike' of Final Frontier, Astronaut Says

HOUSTON — The arrival of the first commercial spacecraft at the International Space Station this week is paramount to the golden spike that completed the first railroad to span the United States 143 years ago this month, an astronaut on the orbiting lab said Saturday (May 26).  "We all remember the completion of the transcontinental railroad, which opened up the western frontier of the United States and it was celebrated by pounding in a golden spike," NASA astronaut Don Pettit radioed from inside the privately-built Dragon spacecraft. "This is sort of the equivalent of the golden spike."  The robotic Dragon space capsule , which was designed by Hawthorne, Calif.-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) was captured via robotic arm by Pettit and attached to the space station on Friday (May 25). Today, Pettit opened the hatch to the cargo craft and was the first to go inside.  "One other interesting detail, nobody remembers who pounded that golden spike in. The important thing to r...

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