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SpaceX Delivers Cargo to International Space Station


The SpaceX Dragon is seen shortly after it was mated to the Harmony module, April 10, 2016. The Cygnus cargo craft with its circular solar arrays and the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft (bottom right) are also seen in this view. (Credit: NASA TV)

An unmanned SpaceX cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station Sunday, two days after launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

"It looks like we've caught a dragon," said British astronaut Tim Peake, who used the space station's robotic arm to grab the cargo ship.

The SpaceX Dragon docked at the station Sunday morning carrying more than 3,100 kilograms of freight, including food supplies, laboratory experiments and an inflatable room.

The room, known as the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), will be temporarily attached to the space station to test how it holds up to space debris and radiation.

The U.S. space agency is interested in expandable habitats to serve as living quarters during an eventual three-year trip to Mars.

Astronauts onboard the Space Station will inflate the module next month, and over the next two years, will enter the room a few hours at a time to retrieve sensor data and assess conditions.

The SpaceX Dragon will remain at the station for a month before returning to Earth with science samples.

The shuttle is the third ship to arrive at the ISS in recent weeks. It is sharing the station with Orbital ATK's supply ship Cygnus, as well as two Russian Progress freighters and two Russian Soyuz crew capsules.