SpaceX launches shipment carrying Christmas cheer to ISS

SpaceX Christmas delivery arrives at ISS

Delivery of Christmas goodies arrives at space station

According to NASA, one of the experiments being sent to the space station involves mice, but before Tuesday's launch, "mold was found on food bars" for the rodent investigation.

Above all else, it's important to remember that the primary mission - sending Cargo Dragon to the ISS - continues to proceed nominally. That includes Kennedy Space Center's pad 39A in May (Bangabandhu-1); Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 40 in August (Merah Putih); and now Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg.

It was the first missed landing at Cape Canaveral.

But the primary goal of the flight, SpaceX's 20th so far this year, was to boost the Dragon cargo ship into the space station's orbit for a planned three-day rendezvous.

The spacecraft, which flew to the space station in February of 2017, is carrying 36,000 roundworms in pouches to the orbiting lab and and if all goes well, about two or three million ones will come back to earth. Arranged by a Seattle-based company called Spaceflight Industries, launch is SpaceX's 19th mission of 2018. The rocket Falcon 9 production for 16 SpaceX mission to the ISS is scheduled from the spaceport at Cape Canaveral in Florida (USA). The crew-carrying version of Dragon is scheduled to fly a test mission next month, and if all goes well, will carry astronauts to the station later in the year in what would be the first crewed flight from US soil since the space shuttles retired in 2011.

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The rocket set another record: will sun-synchronous polar orbit at an altitude of about 575 km above the Earth 64 satellites at once from 34 different organizations from 17 countries.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk said the booster appeared to be undamaged. Coverage of Dragon's rendezvous with the space station will begin at about 2:00 a.m. PST, or 10:00 UTC, on Saturday, December 8.

Astronauts who are lucky enough to score a gig aboard the International Space Station make a lot of sacrifices in the name of science.

The mission is SpaceX's 16th for NASA, as part of a long-term contract to ferry supplies to space. Those projects will test dental glue and a plant-watering process for space. The new crew members will assist in the docking of the Dragon cargo ship.

Astronaut Anne McClain, also from NASA, will monitor telemetry during the spacecraft's approach.

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