SpaceX Dragon 2 cargo ship docks on International Space Station

SpaceX's next-generation, uncrewed Dragon 2 cargo ship has docked on the International Space Station Monday for the aerospace company's 21st contracted commercial resupply mission.

The Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket launched at 11:17 a.m. EST on Sunday from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The spacecraft, which carried over 6,400 pounds of equipment and supplies, including "Christmas goodies" for a tasty holiday dinner, was orbiting about 268 miles (431 kilometers) above the southern Indian Ocean, near Australia, before docking to the station's Harmony module at 1:40 p.m. 

The docking was delayed by 10 mintutes due to spotty communications with ground controllers during the last leg of the Dragon's trip.   

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According to NASA, the mission will include a study aimed at better understanding heart disease to support development of treatments for patients on Earth, research into how microbes can be used for biomining on asteroids, and a tool being tested for quick and accurate blood analysis in microgravity.

In addition, the Dragon cargo spacecraft has delivered the first commercially owned and operated airlock on the space station, the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock, which will provide a variety of capabilities to the ISS orbiting laboratory, including CubeSat deployment and support of external payloads.

After Dragon spends approximately one month attached to the space station, the spacecraft will return to Earth with cargo and research.

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