CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – A SpaceX delivery full of Christmas celebrations arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday after a slight delay caused by a communication failure.
The Dragon Capsule pulled on the circulating lab three days after the launch from Cape Canaveral. Commander Alexander Gerst used the space station's large robot arm to seize the cargo carrier as the two vessels rose 250 miles across the Pacific Ocean.
It took two attempts to get the dragon close enough to catch.
NASA called Dragon's first access due to communication network problems serving the space station. New Mexico Equipment Failure for NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite system resulted in a temporary loss of communication with the station. For security, Mission Control has ordered Dragon to back up.
It was a successful train two – just one and a half hours – after NASA switched to another TDRS satellite.
It bolted down Dragon contains everything the astronauts of the station need for Christmas dinner, as well as mice and worms to science experiments and more than 5,000 pounds (2,270 kg) stationary equipment.
The holiday food includes smoked turkey, green beans stew, candied yams, cranberry sauce and fruit cake. There are also shortbread and buttercakes, with ice cream for decorating.
Three of the space station residents will be aboard 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.
It is the second space station visit for this reused dragon; It was there last year too.
First-stage booster, used in Wednesday's launch, is back in port after landing at sea instead of Cape Canaveral. SpaceX dragged booster to land for possible future recycling, as well as for an investigation of what went wrong.
SpaceX has made station shipments to NASA since 2012. This is its 16th delivery under contract.
Two other supply ships are attached to the space station: One Russian and the other, sent by NASA's second commercial sender, Northrop Grumman.