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SpaceX: Space Station crew likes what it sees in new transport vehicle

The crew of the International Space Station got its first look at the inside of its newest visitor – SpaceX's Dragon cargo ship – Saturday morning. For the next several years it'll be carrying cargo and astronauts to the space station.

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NASA flight engineer Don Pettit and International Space Station Commander Oleg Kononenko enter the SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft for the first time as European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers watches after hatch opening Saturday.

NASA/Reuters

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The crew of the International Space Station got its first look at the inside of its newest visitor – Space Exploration Technologies Corporation's Dragon cargo ship – Saturday morning and pronounced it a keeper.

The craft made aerospace history Friday by becoming the first commercially built and operated spacecraft to rendezvous and dock with another spacecraft on orbit.

“I spent quite a bit of time poking around in here this morning looking at the engineering and the layout, and I'm very pleased,” observes Don Petitt, a space station flight engineer and the crew member who guided the station's robotic arm as it grappled the craft for docking Friday morning.

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SpaceX developed the Dragon to carry cargo and eventually crew, and based on his initial inspection of the craft's interior, riding in a human-rated Dragon “is not going to be an issue,” he said.

The mission began with a flawless launch May 22 from a pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The crew opened the hatch to the cargo craft at 5:53 Eastern Daylight Time Saturday.

This mission, which is slated to end with Dragon's return to Earth May 31, is a demonstration flight. It consists of a final set of tests the craft and its controllers must pass in order to begin delivering on a $1.6 billion contract SpaceX has with NASA to carry cargo to and from the station between now and 2015.

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