Christmas comes late to International Space Station
Christmas comes late to International Space Station Backdropped by Earth is the International Space Station. The Dragon spacecraft appears at left (Reuters)
Christmas comes late to International Space Station
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A shipment of much-needed groceries and belated Christmas presents has reached the International Space Station.

The SpaceX company's supply ship, Dragon, pulled up Monday at the orbiting lab two days after its liftoff. Station commander Butch Wilmore used a robot arm to grab the capsule. It contained 5,000 pounds of cargo. This all happened as the craft soared more than 260 miles above the Mediterranean Sea.

The space station's six astronauts were getting a little low on supplies. That's because the previous supply ship, owned by another company, was destroyed in an October launch explosion. NASA scrambled to get replacement equipment aboard Dragon. So did school children, who rustled up new science projects.

Then Dragon was stalled a month by rocket snags. It should have gotten to the space station well before Christmas. Mission Control joked about missing not only the December shipment date but also Eastern Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7.

"We're excited to have it on board," Wilmore said. "We'll be digging in soon."

He's especially eager to get more mustard. The station's condiment cabinet is empty.

NASA is paying SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp. for shipments. But Orbital's rockets are grounded until next year. That's because of its launch accident. SpaceX is picking up as much slack as it can. Russia and Japan also plan deliveries this year.

SpaceX is still poring over data from Saturday's rocket-landing test. It was the first of its kind.

After the first stage of the Falcon rocket peeled away as planned following liftoff, it flew back to a giant platform floating off the Florida coast. The guidance fins on the booster ran out of hydraulic fluid, however. Right before touchdown, it landed hard and broke into pieces.

The California company's billionaire founder is Elon Musk. He said he was encouraged nonetheless and plans another rocket-landing test next month.

Critical thinking challenge: Why might SpaceX want the first stage of the Falcon rocket to land on a platform, rather than fall into the ocean?

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Assigned 74 times

  • Ian87
    1/20/2015 - 02:38 p.m.

    I find it strange how the supplies on the International Space Station could last until the next supply ship came. I wonder if the astronauts either conserved their supplies or barely used them. If they had enough food to last until December, would they try to make it last at least until the next supply ship came? I feel like that had been the case, considering that if they barely used the supplies, they wouldn't have the strength or energy to be on the station.

  • samki-Mat
    1/20/2015 - 03:04 p.m.

    The astronauts probably were happy that they got food. They were about to run out of food. I would be happy if I just got food I would be happy.

    1/20/2015 - 05:07 p.m.

    Being an astronaut is a important task. It's also scary and dangerous to do so. This article shows the danger of the six astronauts when they couldn't receive their supply package. In space these astronauts could have died without food or water if their supply crate arrived later. Astronomy is crossed off from my potential future careers. It's fun being an astronaut and all but it's not worth the risk.

  • kendal203
    1/20/2015 - 06:12 p.m.

    First this article talks about how the supplies for the spaceship dragon were delayed when they were supposed to be delivered on Christmas. In the reading they say that some people referred to this as a joke on how they didn't even make Christmas but I think it's really actually sad because they had to go without supplies and their Christmas for a long time.

  • APangaro-1
    1/20/2015 - 07:01 p.m.

    Dragon, SpaceX company's supply ship pulled up on Monday two days after its liftoff. It contained 5,000 pounds of cargo. To get the capsule, Butch Wilmore used a robitc arm to reeve it. This capsule should have came to the station well before Christmas. This capsule traveled more then 260 miles across the Mediterranean Sea. I think that the capsule should have been launched earlier just in case it could have gotten lost or damaged.

  • JonathanAA-4
    1/20/2015 - 08:07 p.m.

    This article is about how astronauts just got late Christmas Presents because they were working in space stations. NASA is paying SpaceX to ship the presents to the astronauts. The astronauts were really happy to get gifts from their family members. They didn't know they were getting gifts. It was a surprise from NASA and SpaceX. I found this article interesting because astronauts couldn't be home for Christmas, so NASA shot up their presents, which i think was really nice of them to do that.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    1/20/2015 - 09:34 p.m.

    The people have to work fast in order to help the people inside the International Space Station. At least they could enjoy a belated Christmas present from Earth. But still, SpaceX has to be quick about it because they have to send the supplies up to the space station. Why do they have to experiment on landing the Falcon rocket before they send the supplies? I think this is so that SpaceX can pinpoint the area where the space station would land.
    Critical thinking challenge: Why might SpaceX want the first stage of the Falcon rocket to land on a platform, rather than fall into the ocean?
    Answer: SpaceX might want the first stage of the Falcon rocket to land on a platform because they would want to pinpoint the location where the rocket would fall down into the ocean so they can retrieve it without getting it wet.

  • Patricia119
    1/21/2015 - 08:59 a.m.

    I think that it is cool that christmas . And the whole thing with the space shuttle flying in the sky its pretty cool if u ask me. The reason why christmas is late in space is because the time is different and the space shuttles don't have enough time to get were their going.

  • Alyssa119
    1/21/2015 - 09:05 a.m.

    They want to use the falcon again. What made this article interesting was that their was a spaceX accident. What is also cool is the names for the air crafts. DO NOT POST.

  • Nicholas119
    1/21/2015 - 09:08 a.m.

    I think the space station is cool. Space X company trying to get supply to the six people on the space station. They got they supply so they are happy. DON'T POST!!

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