77ºF

SpaceX's 20th station shipment arrives with candy, science

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – A SpaceX cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station on Monday, delivering the company's 20th batch of gear and treats.

The Dragon capsule reached the orbiting lab after launching late Friday night. NASA astronauts Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir used the station's robot arm to capture the spacecraft.

The 4,300-pound (1,950-kilogram) shipment contains science experiments and equipment, as well as special goodies for the three-person crew aloft for months: grapefruit, tomatoes, Skittles, Reese's Pieces and Hot Tamales.

This is the last of SpaceX's original-style Dragons. All future ones are designed to carry either cargo or crew, and will dock automatically rather than require robot-arm assistance. SpaceX has been sending up station cargo since 2012 and plans to start launching NASA astronauts this spring.

From 260 miles (418 kilometers) up, Meir congratulated SpaceX on its many milestones, including the fact this is the third flight for this particular Dragon. Spacecraft and rocket recycling, she noted, is “the more sustainable approach that will be paramount to the future of spaceflight.”

The Dragon will remain at the orbiting lab for a month before returning to Earth with science specimens.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.