Space station supply ship delivers espresso
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The SpaceX supply ship that arrived at the International Space Station has delivered the world's first espresso machine designed exclusively for astronauts.
Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti captured the capsule. It's called Dragon. It came three days after its Florida launch. A giant robot arm was used to retrieve the Dragon. The cargo carrier holds more than 4,000 pounds of much-needed groceries, experiments and equipment.
Italy provided the espresso maker for Cristoforetti. She has been stuck with instant coffee. Her mission began in November.
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"It's been just amazing," Cristoforetti said after snaring the Dragon over the Pacific on Friday, April 17. "Lots of science and even coffee's in there. So that's pretty exciting."
The espresso machine is three months late. That is because of the backlog created by last year's loss of a supply ship in a launch explosion. If it arrived much later the espresso machine would have missed Cristoforetti. She returns home in May.
She says she can't wait to try some space espresso.
The Dragon will remain at the orbiting lab until around May 21. Then it will be released full of experiments and discarded equipment. It will return to Earth. It's the only supply ship capable of bringing items back.
Among the newly arrived research are experiments for American astronaut Scott Kelly. He is just a few weeks into a one-year mission. That will be a record for NASA.
SpaceX, meanwhile, released a video showing its first-stage booster landing on an ocean platform. This was shortly after liftoff. The booster then tipped over in flames. It was the California company's third attempt to fly a booster rocket to the platform. It had been stationed off Florida's northeastern coast.
SpaceX chief Elon Musk said the platform endured just minor damage. The platform has been dubbed, "Just Read the Instructions."
The next try will be in June on the next SpaceX supply run for NASA.
Musk is a billionaire. He also runs the Tesla electric car maker. He wants to reuse his rockets to bring down the cost of space flight.
Critical thinking challenge: Why was the International Space Station's expresso machine designed exclusively for astronauts?