A SpaceX Dragon ship has made a special cargo delivery to the International Space Station this weekend. The spacecraft caught up with the ISS early Saturday, Dec. 8, three days after its launch from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Christmas Treats For Expedition 57 Astronauts
The spacecraft brought 5,600 pounds of equipment and supplies, which include fresh fruits and holiday treats for six Expedition 57 astronauts who will spend Christmas and New Year aboard the orbiting laboratory.
"We did fly some extra food, some Christmas-type food for the crew, standard things, candied yams, turkey, corn, green bean casserole, some Christmas traditional standard stuff like that," said space station deputy program manager Joel Montalbano. "There's also some fresh fruit for the crew."
ISS crews also received Christmas supplies and gifts in previous years. In 2017, crew members also had a Christmas tree and gifts from families and friends. Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov said that there were packages onboard the space station labeled to open on Dec. 25 for U.S. astronauts and Dec. 31 for crews from Russia.
Last year, Christmas dinner menu for crew members include turkey, gingerbread cookies, hot cocoa, and cornbread stuffing.
Science Gears And Other Supplies
Dragon also brought equipment for scientific research. It carried a rodent habitat carrying 40 mice, powerful GEDI laser to study Earth's forests, a SlingShot device that can launch up to 18 CubeSats from a Cygnus cargo ship already at the ISS, and 36,000 worms.
It also brought space station hardware, computer equipment, spacewalk tools and suit components, clothing, and other supplies for the crew.
SpaceX's 16th Cargo Delivery Mission
The latest space rendezvous is the 16th cargo delivery mission of SpaceX for NASA. The cargo ship called CRS-16 also delivered supplies to the ISS in February 2017.
The Dragon capsule will spend about a month at the space station before returning to Earth. In January next year, astronauts will fill it with 4,000 pounds of experiment results and other gears.
It is expected to splash down in the Pacific Ocean once it returns to Earth and will be retrieved by a recovery ship.