After chasing the International Space Station (ISS) for two days, the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship has finally reached its destination. Loaded with more than 5,600 pounds of goods, the Dragon capsule arrived at the orbital outpost this morning. The spacecraft was captured by the astronauts crewing the research facility at 7:21 a.m. ET, NASA announced in a blog post.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, the Dragon was sent on a supply run to the space station as part of SpaceX's CRS-16 mission. The capsule took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on December 5 and rode into space atop a Falcon 9 rocket — which returned to Earth with a splash, the Inquisitr reported on Thursday.
The Dragon cargo ship spent two days orbiting Earth before it eventually turned up on the astronauts' doorstep. According to the space agency, the crew of the ISS managed to get ahold of the Dragon with the help of the space station's robotic arm, Canadarm2. At the time, the orbiting laboratory was flying about 249 miles above the planet over the Pacific Ocean, just north of Papua New Guinea.The robotic arm was operated by ISS commander Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency and flight engineer Serena Aunon-Chancellor of NASA. The duo grappled the capsule, preparing it for installation on board the space station.
The astronauts were assisted by newcomer Anne McClain of NASA, who monitored the capsule's telemetry during the Dragon's approach. McClain has only been on board the ISS for nearly a week, after arriving at the space station on Monday, as reported by the Inquisitr at the time.
"This will be our office today," Gerst tweeted bright and early this morning, while the team was waiting for Dragon to arrive.The Dragon came bearing gifts and delivered a hefty supply of equipment, science experiments, and essentials for the astronauts living and working in space. Also on board were some well-deserved Christmas goods — including a Christmas turkey, cranberry sauce, candied yams, and fruitcake, the Inquisitr recently reported.
These will make for a delicious holiday feast for the astronauts celebrating Christmas in space. Although they helped getting the goods to the space station, Gerst and Aunon-Chancellor will not be among them. The two are scheduled to return to Earth on December 20, together with Expedition 57 flight engineer Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, and will spend Christmas with their families.
Now that the Dragon has been secured, the capsule will be installed on the space station's Harmony module.The cargo ship will remain parked at the ISS until January 13, when the Dragon heads back to Earth.