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New space capsule brings exploration to new heights

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By Duarte Geraldino

NEW YORK (CBS) - Astronauts opened the hatch of the first privately owned spacecraft to reach the International Space Station.

The space station crew inspected the Dragon just before six Saturday morning.  They wore goggles and masks in case they encountered debris but gave a
thumbs up to let mission control know eveything was ok.

NASA astronaut Donald Pettit says he spent quite a bit of time poking around this morning looking at the engineering and the layout.  He says he's very pleased.

And it docked with the International Space Station Friday.
The capsule is delivering about 12-hundred pounds of food and supplies. 

Over the next few days the Astronauts will empty the cargo and repack it with
equipment and other items that will be sent back to earth.

Pettit was the first astronaut inside the Dragon.  He's otimistic a future version will carry humans into space.

"There's not enough room in here to hold a barn dance but for transportation of a crew up and down through earth's atmosphere and into space, there's plenty of room."

The Dragon is scheduled head back to earth on Thursday.

By 2015, SpaceX, the company that developed the Dragon, says it may be ready to test a version humans can travel in.

NASA ended its space shuttle program last year and is now looking at private companies to bring astronauts into space.