Space X's Dragon Capsule arrives at the International Space Station. (The Associated Press / NASA TV)

Canadian astronaut catches SpaceX capsule using Canadarm

A SpaceX shipment sent Saturday to the International Space Station was intercepted on Monday morning by Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques using the Canadian-built Canadarm 2 robotic arm.

It was David Saint-Jacques’ very first “space catch”. The astronaut had, however, assisted his colleague Anne McClain two weeks ago to catch another cargo ship.

“Welcome on board, Dragon,” Saint-Jacques radioed. Speaking in both English and French, he congratulated ground teams for their help and said he’s proud every time the station’s 18-metre (58-foot) Canadian robot arm is used in orbit.

My crew and I are proud to be part of this today, representing the dedicated teams of talented people who every day make the seemingly impossible a reality.David Saint-Jacques, Canadian astronaut

“Well done, well captured. Way to make it look easy,” Mission Control said.

Two and a half tons of cargo

The Dragon capsule, which was propelled into space by a Falcon 9 rocket, contained 2,500 kilograms of cargo, including 1.2 million tomato seeds.

These seeds will be sent back to Earth with the capsule in one month. They will be given to students whose mission will be to grow them as part of the Tomatosphere educational project.

During their scientific experiment, they will measure and compare the growth of the various seeds.

The capsule is also expected to bring back blood and air samples for a Canadian study on changes in astronauts’ bone marrow in space.

SpaceX’s 17th delivery to the ISS

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket takes off loaded with a Dragon cargo craft during a resupply mission to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Thom Baur

This was the second flight of the Dragon Capsule. The spacecraft has a small space station emblem on its side indicating its previews flight in 2017.

It was SpaceX’s 17th delivery to the International Space Station since it started in 2012. The Dragon capsules are the only ones capable of coming back to Earth intact.  

Northrop Grumman is NASA’s other shipper; its Cygnus cargo ship arrived just two weeks ago.

Besides one Canadian, the space station is home to three Americans and two Russians.

With files from The Associated Press, Reuters and NASA

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