A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship made a special delivery to the International Space Station on Saturday (December 8) just in time for the holidays. And yes, Virginia, there are Christmas presents aboard.
The robot-controlled spacecraft Dragon arrived at the space station on Saturday morning and delivered more than 2,500 kilograms of fresh supplies for the six astronauts of Expedition 57 in the orbiting lab. SpaceX launched the Dragon Ship on Wednesday (December 5) from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Wednesday (December 5).
Station Commander Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency conquered the Dragon's Cap with a robotic arm at 7am: 9pm EST (1
"This supply ship also has some special items like candied yams, casserole with green beans and even Christmas cookies," NASA spokeswoman Leah Cheshier said live commentary.
The spacecraft also carries 250 scientific equipment experiments, including a robotic tank refueling demonstration in space, a powerful GEDI laser to study the Earth's forests, and a novel SlingShot device with which to to 18 cubesats from a Cygnus cargo ship can already be fired at the station. A team of mice in space and 36,000 worms is also about to make space travel.
Dragon's arrival was delayed due to a communication problem between NASA's Tracking and Data Relay (TDRS) satellites and a ground station in White Sands. New Mexico. A processor at the ground station for the TDRS East satellite has failed, requiring NASA to switch to another TDRS satellite to re-establish communications with the space station.
Dragon had to move back to a safe station stop at a distance of 30 meters from the station, and then made about one hour more than planned. Flight controllers at NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston took over the remote control of the station's arm to attach Dragon to its berth with the Orbita Laboratory's Harmony module.
Today's Space Rendezvous marks NASA's 16th Cargo Delivery Mission from SpaceX. The dragon on this flight called CRS-16 has visited the space station before. She delivered to the station in February 2017 as part of NASA's mission CRS-10 supplies.
Dragon will be the sixth spacecraft to be connected to the space station in recent months. Their arrival follows a Russian Soyuz crew capsule, which arrived last week with three new crew members, and cargo ship Northrop Grumman Cygnus in November. Another Soyuz crew capsule and two unscrewed Russian Progress cargo ships are also docked at the station.
"We congratulate the entire ISS team on the management of six individual spaceships, which will be simultaneously docked on the International Space Station today," said Gerst. "This shows what a successful science and exploration program we have here, and takes full advantage of the only microgravity observatory that humankind has for the benefit of all people on Earth."
SpaceX's DragonX capsule will be deployed for about four weeks At the space station before returning to Earth, company officials said. In January, the spacecraft will be filled with approximately 1,814 kg of experimental results and another gear and released into space. It will cum in the Pacific and be retrieved from a SpaceX rescue vessel.