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SpaceX Cargo Capsule Arrives At Station After Successful Cape Canaveral Launch

SpaceX's cargo Dragon capsule arrives at the station for its third visit. Photo: NASA
SpaceX's cargo Dragon capsule arrives at the station for its third visit. Photo: NASA

On the International Space Station, astronauts can being unpacking more than 5,000 pounds of newly delivered supplies. A capsule packed with cargo arrived Saturday after launching from Cape Canaveral two days ago.

The capsule arrived Saturday morning. NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch captured the vehicle using the station's robotic arm. Ground crews at NASA mission control in Houston took over the operation and remotely controlled the arm to attach SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon capsule to the station’s Harmony module.

The supplies include clothing, food and new science experiments including a 3D printer designed to print nerve cells, muscle cells and proteins in microgravity. Another experiment is on how moss can help support astronauts living long-term on the moon or Mars.

Packed in the trunk of the cargo vehicle is a new docking adapter. The International Docking Adapter (IDE-3) will support new space vehicles docking at the station. A previously installed port, IDE-2, was used to dock a test version of SpaceX's crew capsule back in March.

SpaceX launched the supplies under NASA’s commercial cargo partnership. It's the company's 18th mission to the station. The space agency pays private companies to deliver supplies to the orbiting outpost. Soon, SpaceX, along with Boeing, will launch astronauts to the International Space Station from Florida's Space Coast.

This is the Dragon capsule’s third mission to the station. It will remain there for about a month before heading back to Earth, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."