Wednesday 25 April 2018

SpaceX ship delivers espresso machine for astronauts to International Space Station

The SpaceX supply ship has arrived at the International Space Station, delivering the world's first espresso machine designed exclusively for astronauts.

The space station crew captured the Dragon capsule on Friday morning - three days after its Florida launch - with the help of a giant robot arm.

The cargo carrier holds more than 1,800kg of much-needed food, experiments and equipment.

Italy provided the espresso maker for Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. She has been stuck with instant coffee since her mission began in November.

The espresso machine is three months late because of the backlog created by last year's loss of a supply ship in a launch explosion.

Much later and the espresso machine would have missed the Italian astronaut, who returns home next month. She said she can not wait to try some space espresso.

"It's been just amazing," Ms Cristoforetti said after snaring the Dragon over the Pacific. "Lots of science and even coffee's in there, so that's pretty exciting."

The Dragon will remain at the orbiting lab until around May 21, when it will be released full of experiments and discarded equipment for return to Earth. It is the only supply ship capable of bringing items back.

Among the newly arrived research are experiments for American astronaut Scott Kelly, who is just a few weeks into a one-year mission, which will be a record for Nasa.

SpaceX, meanwhile, released a video showing its first-stage booster landing on an ocean platform shortly after Tuesday's lift-off, then tipping over in flames. It was the California company's third attempt to fly a booster rocket to the platform stationed off Florida's north-eastern coast.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk said the platform - dubbed Just Read the Instructions - endured just minor damage.

The next try will be in June on the next SpaceX supply run for Nasa.

Mr Musk, a billionaire entrepreneur who also runs the Tesla electric car maker, wants to reuse his rockets to bring down the cost of spaceflight.

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