About 5,000 pounds of much-needed supplies, from groceries to scientific experiments to Christmas gifts, reached the International Space Station on Monday, after months of delays, including a failed launch in October that exploded shortly after taking off.
SpaceX's Dragon capsule docked at the space station, where it will remain for about a month before returning to Earth, two days after blasting off from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Astronauts aboard the space station were eager for the haul, since they had been getting low on supplies. Apparently, their cupboard had run out of mustard.
"We're excited to have it on board," station commander Butch Wilmore said. "We'll be digging in soon."
Mission Control joked about missing not only the December shipment date, but Eastern Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7 as well for the three Russian crew members.
The station was supposed to be resupplied in the fall. But an Orbital Sciences Antares rocket that was to ferry a load exploded in October. SpaceX, Elon Musk's start-up space company, was scheduled to run a resupply mission in December, but that was postponed because of technical problems until Saturday's successful launch.
SpaceX was also assessing data from an audacious attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. The rocket hit the barge, Musk said, but landed hard and broke into pieces.
While the attempt was unsuccessful, it was a major coup to be able to hit the barge from such a great distance, industry officials said. And Musk said the company would try again. Creating reusable rockets — which are typically discarded after each launch — would be a major breakthrough in space flight by helping to make it far more affordable.