The US SpaceX Dragon resupply ship docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday.
The spacecraft’s approach and arrival at the docking port of the Harmony module was implemented with the help of the Canadarm 2 remote-controlled robotic arm. The docking process was broadcast live on NASA’s website.
This is SpaceX’s 17th cargo flight to the space station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. The Dragon has delivered more than 2.5 tonnes of cargoes to the orbital station: food, equipment and materials for carrying out several dozen scientific experiments planned for the space expedition 59/60, including the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 and the Space Test Program-Houston 6 *(STP-H6).
As NASA reported on its website, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3) will measure carbon dioxide from space. STP-H6 will be used to perform a space-based demonstration of a new technology for generating beams of modulated X-rays. “This technology may be useful for providing efficient communication to deep space probes, or communicating with hypersonic vehicles where plasma sheaths prevent traditional radio communications,” NASA said.
The current mission is using the returnable Dragon capsule that made a flight in August 2017. This time, the cargo craft blasted off from the spaceport at Cape Canaveral (the state of Florida) with the help of a Falcon-9 launch vehicle. The resupply ship will undock from the space station in four weeks and will splash down in the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast.
The space station’s current crew comprises Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Alexei Ovchinin, US astronauts Anne McClain, Christina Koch and Nick Hague and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques.