A SpaceX delivery full of Christmas goodies arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday, following a slight delay caused by a communication drop-out.
The Dragon capsule pulled up at the orbiting lab three days after launching from Cape Canaveral. Commander Alexander Gerst used the space station’s big robotic arm to grab the cargo carrier, as the two craft soared 250 miles above the Pacific.
It took two tries to get the Dragon close enough for capture.
NASA called off the Dragon’s first approach because of trouble with the communication network that serves the space station. Equipment failure in New Mexico for NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite system resulted in a temporary loss of communication with the station. For safety, Mission Control ordered the Dragon to back up.
It was a successful take two—just an hour-and-a-half late—after NASA switched to another TDRS satellite.
The bolted-down Dragon holds everything the station astronauts need for Christmas dinner, as well as mice and worms for science experiments, and more than 5,000 pounds (2,270 kilograms) of station equipment.
The holiday food includes smoked turkey, green bean casserole, candied yams, cranberry sauce and fruitcake. There also are shortbread and butter cookies, with tubes of icing for decorating.