Six Spacecraft Are Now Docked with the ISS

SpaceX Dragon docked with the ISS 1 photo
Photo: SpaceX
On Monday, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft finally reached the International Space Station, following nearly a week of launch delays caused by unusual electrical faults both on the station and on the Falcon 9 mobile landing pad, the Of Course I Still Love You drone-ship.
According to SpaceX, the Dragon docked with the Harmony module of the ISS, where it will spend its next month. Located at the so-called Node 2, Harmony is the work of Thales Alenia Space Italy and was built in Europe.

The module provides crew quarters for 4 members as well as vital functional resources for the operation of the connected elements: the conversion and distribution of the electrical power, heating, cooling and support of data and video exchange with the ground and the rest of the ISS.

The American capsule joined another American one, Northrop Grumman's Cygnus, and four Russian spacecraft - Progress 71, Progress 72, the Soyuz MS-11 and Soyuz MS-12 – in becoming the sixth currently docked 257 miles above Earth. That’s the maximum the station can support at one time.

This week’s launch was the 17th supply mission carried out by Elon Musk’s company for NASA. It carried 5,500 pounds of supplies and payloads, including experiments for examining the atmospheric carbon cycle, the use of microalgae as air recyclers and even regolith.

“These are just a few of the hundreds of investigations that will help us learn how to keep astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars,” NASA said in a statement.

“Space station research also provides opportunities for other U.S. government agencies, private industry, and academic and research institutions to conduct microgravity research that leads to new technologies, medical treatments, and products that improve life on Earth.”

Hovering above Earth since 1998, the ISS is humanity’s most important – and for the moment – only outpost in space.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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