SpaceX goodie bags filled with Christmas items arrived at the ISS on Saturday after occurrence of a short delay of 1.5hrs because of communication drop-out. Arrival of the Dragon Capsule took place 3days after its launch from Cape Canaveral. Alexander Gerst, the ISS commander, utilized the station’s long robotic arm to catch the carrier with the cargo, after 2 attempts, as both crafts flew above Pacific at an altitude of 250miles.
The first approach of Dragon was called off citing safety concerns because of temporary communication loss, which was a result of failure of equipment in New Mexico for TDRS satellite of NASA. The second attempt was successful following NASA’s switch to a different Tracking and Data Relay Satellite system. The Dragon capsule contains items required for Christmas dinner, worms and mice for scientific experiments, and over 2,270kgs of station equipment. The lavish holiday dinner items include fruitcake, cranberry sauce, candied yams, green bean casserole and smoked turkey. In addition to these food items, butter cookies, shortbread and icing tubes for decorations have also been sent to the International Space Station.
During Christmas time, 3 residents of the space station will be on board while the other 3 are all set to return to Earth on December 20. As of now, there are 6 residents on board the ISS- one German, one Canadian, two Russians and two Americans. The recycled Dragon had gone to the ISS in 2017 too. This was its second visit to the orbiting lab. The booster for the first stage landed at sea in place of Cape Canaveral. It was then towed to shore for possible reuse in the future and also for examination to find out what had gone wrong.
SpaceX and NASA have been working together for 6 years, since 2012. This was its 16th delivery for the US space agency. The other 2 supply ships attached to ISS include one Russian ship and one by Northrop Grumman.