SpaceX's plan to deliver a 4,800-pound cargo using a reused Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule to the International Space Station is a success.
The California-based company announced the CRS-13 mission in early December, where the launch date was moved from Dec. 12 and then to Dec. 13 and finally settled down to Dec. 15.
Fast-forward to Dec. 17, it has confirmed that the capsule is connected to the ISS.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 17, 2017
With a payload of 4,800 pounds or nearly 2,200 kilograms, one can't help but wonder what it contains, and from the look of things, it carries not only scientific items but also Christmas presents and barley seeds, which are used to make beer.
Dragon Capsule Cargo Content
According to NASA, the Dragon capsule delivered the Space Debris Sensor or SDS, an instrument that will allow the ISS astronauts to study tiny space debris more closely. It also carried the Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor or TSIS-1, a device that can measure how much sunlight reaches Earth.
"It's a beautiful spacecraft, and we're looking forward to digging into it and getting some science on board," the NASA astronaut said.
Aside from the sensors, the capsule brought food and various supplies, as well as experiments — lab mice and one that can be used to study thyroid cancer.
Interestingly, barley seeds were also on board the cargo. This is Budweiser's efforts to brew beer on Mars, but first things first, it needs to verify whether the seeds would thrive in zero gravity.
Last but not least, there are Christmas presents aboard too, but NASA is keeping details about this one under wraps as they should be in the spirit of the holiday.
However, the agency did keep its promise of sending Star Wars: The Last Jedi electronically via mission control to the ISS astronauts. The crew was said to be excited for the film too.
Dragon Now Installed
At 1326 GMT, a NASA commentator said, "Dragon installed." That's after the capsule successfully joined the ISS using 16 bolts. This all happened while the two were floating 250 miles above the North Atlantic.
The astronauts used the station's big robot arm to grab ahold of the capsule, pull it out of orbit, and connect the two together.
As mentioned earlier, the Dragon capsule is reused, and it made its first trip to the ISS during the CRS-6 mission back in 2015. The same goes for the Falcon 9 rocket in question, where it first delivered supplies to the space station during the CRS-11 mission in June.