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Space X Capsule Arrives at International Space Station

The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft approaches the International Space Station on May 25, 2012 for grapple and berthing. (file photo)
A privately-owned cargo spacecraft has successfully reached the International Space Station, delivering a half-ton of supplies in its first official shipment for the U.S. space agency NASA.

The ISS astronauts used a giant robotic arm to grab hold of SpaceX's Dragon capsule early Wednesday. Space station commander Sunita Williams announced to NASA's Mission Control in Houston, Texas, that they had "tamed the dragon" when the capsule was secured.

The Dragon capsule is expected to stay at the International Space Station for about two and a half weeks.

California-based SpaceX is under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA that will require Dragon to make 11 additional supply shipments to the station. NASA is working with SpaceX to design capsules that can also carry astronauts.

NASA's second commercial supplier, Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corporation, is scheduled to debut its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft later this year.

The United States retired its shuttle fleet last year.