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NEWS YORK, January 12. /TASS/. The American cargo spacecraft Dragon that was launched last Saturday from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to the International Space Station (ISS) is to dock with the orbiting station on Monday.
American company Space Exploration Technologies or SpaceX said that all Dragon’s systems are functioning normally.
More than two tons of supplies and NASA science research tools are on the way to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft. The spacecraft launched Saturday on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 04:47 am EST, NASA reported.
Dragon's cargo will support more than 250 experiments that will be conducted by the station’s Expeditions 42 and 43 crews. The Dragon spaceship marks SpaceX’s fifth resupply mission to the ISS under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to deliver 20,000 kg (44,000 pounds) of cargo to the station during a dozen Dragon cargo spacecraft flights through 2016 under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.
The unmanned cargo freighter is loaded with more than 5108 pounds (2317 kg) of scientific experiments, technology demonstrations, crew supplies, spare parts, food, water, clothing and assorted research gear for the space station.
Dragon will be grappled at 06:12 am EST (14:12 pm, Moscow time) Monday, January 12, by Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore of NASA, using the space station's robotic arm to take hold of the spacecraft. European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will support Wilmore in a backup position. Dragon is scheduled to spend about a month attached to the space station before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean, west of Baja California, Mexico, carrying more than 3,800 pounds of cargo, including crew supplies, hardware and computer resources, science experiments, space station hardware and trash, NASA said.
The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that demonstrates new technologies and makes research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. The space station has been occupied continuously since November 2000. In that time, more than 200 people and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft have visited the orbiting laboratory. The space station remains the springboard to NASA's next great leap in exploration, including future missions to an asteroid and Mars.
The current ISS crew comprises six members: Wilmore, Cristoforetti, NASA astronaut Terry Virts and Russian cosmonauts Aleksandr Samokutyayev, Yelena Serova and Anton Shkaplerov.