CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) – A SpaceX delivery, full of Christmas awards, arrived on Saturday at the International Space Station after a little delay caused by a failure to communicate.
The dragon capsule was pulled into the orbital lab three days after it was released from Cape Canaveral. Commander Alexander Gerst uses the large robotic arm of the space station to take the cargo, as the two ships fired 250 miles across the Pacific Ocean.
It takes two attempts to get the Dragon closer to capture.
NASA has rejected the Dragon's first approach due to problems with the communications network serving the space station. The failure of New Mexico's equipment for NASA's satellite tracking and data transmission system has resulted in temporary loss of communication with the station. For safety, the Control Mission ordered the Dragon to back up.
It was two – just an hour and a half later – after NASA switched to another TDRS companion.
The Dragon is equipped with everything that the astronauts of the Christmas Eve station need, as well as mice and worms for scientific experiments and more than 5000 pounds (2,270 kilograms) of stations.
Holiday food includes smoked turkey, green beans, candied sweets, cranberry sauce and fruit cake. There are also biscuits for sweets and oil sweets, with clothing for clothing.
Three residents of the space station will be on board for Christmas; the other three will return to Earth on December 20th. Until then, the station is home to two Americans, two Russians, one Canadian, and Gerst, who is German.
This is the second space station visit for this recycled Dragon; there was last year.
The first booster used to launch on Wednesday returns to the port after landing at sea instead of Cape Canaveral. SpaceX pushed a booster to shore for possible future re-use, as well as investigating what went wrong.
SpaceX has made NASA shipments since 2012. This is the 16th contract delivery.
Two other shipping ships are attached to the space station: one Russian, the other is shipped from another NASA merchant ship – Northrop Grumman.