A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, topped with the Crew Dragon capsule, is launched carrying four astronauts on the first operational NASA commercial crew mission at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, US, on November 15, 2020.
A SpaceX supply ship bearing Christmas goodies arrived at the International Space Station on Monday, parking alongside another Dragon capsule that carried up astronauts three weeks ago.
It’s the first time Elon Musk’s company has two Dragons at the orbiting lab, filling both available slots.
Unlike SpaceX’s previous cargo carriers, which had to be plucked from orbit by the space station’s robot arm, this larger and updated model docked all by itself a day after rocketing into orbit from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
This unusually large shipment — exceeding 2,900 kilograms — includes experiments, equipment, Christmas presents and the makings for a holiday feast for the seven station astronauts.
The crew monitored all the action as the capsule pulled up and docked at the station more than 420 kilometers above the Indian Ocean. The two Dragon parking spots are just 4.5 meters or so apart.
SpaceX redesigned its cargo ships to be as big as its spacious crew capsules in order to pack more in.
The cargo Dragon will stay a month, before parachuting into the Atlantic with science samples and discarded gear.