Merry Christmas from the crew of Expedition 50 on board the International Space Station. Hope Santa has boosters to reach that high up in orbit.
The crew of the ISS is celebrating Christmas with light duties today, and getting some precious personal time. They'll be working on spacesuits tomorrow, in preparation for an upcoming EVA.
Japan's HTV-6 robotic cargo supply spacecraft is grappled by the CanadArm robotic arm under control of astronauts in the station.
Earlier this month, on December 13, the ISS received a new arrival in the form of a Japanese cargo spacecraft, operated by remote control, carrying supplies and experiments to the Expedition 50 crew. The HTV-6 blasted off from Tanegashima, and island off Japan, on December 9 and arrived on the 13th. One of the experiments on board is the KITE - Kounatori Integrated Tether Experiment - an electrodynamic tether which will eventually be developed to help remove space debris in the future.
About 8,000 pounds of equipment, fuel, batteries, supplies and hardware were brought to the station.
The HTV-6 was docked to the station's Harmony module, and is currently one of 4 vehicles docked to the station.
Currently occupied Docking Ports.
This is the sixth spacecraft of the current HTV design from Japan. There are planned to be three more launches of the current design. Engineers are designing the next generation HTV, designated HTV-X, which will use a service module for propulsion and allow for more cargo to be delivered. That launch is expected in 2021.