After unexpected delays, a refurbished SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a previously-flown Dragon cargo spacecraft officially launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
As of Sunday, that very same Dragon cargo spacecraft docked with the International Space Station to provide the astronauts and cosmonauts onboard with more than 4,800 pounds of fresh food, supplies, and science experiments.
Image Credit: NASA Video/YouTube
Astronauts captured the Dragon cargo spacecraft with the International Space Station’s newly-repaired and fully-functional robotic arm at 5:57 A.M. Eastern time.
Notably, this was the first time SpaceX ever launched a refurbished Dragon cargo spacecraft atop a refurbished Falcon 9 rocket. Serving as an important milestone for the commercial space company, this mission brings SpaceX one step closer to its vision of cheaper space travel with the help of reusable rocket and spacecraft technology.
The last time this Dragon cargo spacecraft encountered the International Space Station was back in April 2015, during an earlier resupply mission. Astronauts onboard the Earth-orbiting space lab unquestionably seemed excited to see it again:
"It's a beautiful spacecraft, and we're looking forward to digging into it and getting some science on board," said NASA astronaut Joe Acaba as he worked with Mark Vande Hei to capture the Dragon cargo spacecraft with the robotic arm.
Interested in seeing how it all went down? The following video by NASA shows you everything you’ll want to see:
Dragon will remain docked with the International Space Station for several weeks as astronauts load it up with completed experiments and other objects they no longer need. It will return to Earth in January, splashing down in the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean for recovery crews to capture and return to NASA.
Source: SpaceX via Space.com