Tuesday December 11, 2018
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SpaceX Launches Communications Satellite

The second stage stayed in orbit, deploying a communications satellite that will provide service to Indonesia and other areas of South and Southeast Asia

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A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket (VOA)
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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, early Tuesday morning, on a mission to deploy a communications satellite.

SpaceX says not long after the rocket lifted off, the Falcon’s re-usable first stage booster landed successfully on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

The second stage stayed in orbit, deploying a communications satellite that will provide service to Indonesia and other areas of South and Southeast Asia. (VOA)

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SpaceX Dragon Delivers To International Space Station After Delay

Three astronauts will be on board the station on Christmas, while three others will return to Earth on December 20.

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SpaceX Dragon
In this image taken from NASA Television, the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft approaches the robotic arm for docking to the International Space Station. VOA

A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship finally delivered more than 2,500 kilograms of holiday treats Saturday to the International Space Station after a communications drop-out delayed the shipment.

After two approach attempts, the Dragon locked onto the orbiting lab three days after launching from Cape Canaveral in the southeastern U.S. state of Florida.

NASA nixed the first approach because of a glitch in the communication network that serves the space station.

SpaceX Dragon is pictured about 30 meters from the International Space Station before being captured minutes later at its capture point of 10 meters from the station.
SpaceX Dragon is pictured about 30 meters from the International Space Station before being captured minutes later at its capture point of 10 meters from the station. VOA
 Mission Control ordered the Dragon to back up from the station before approaching again after NASA switched another communications satellite.

With the Dragon positioned about nine meters from the station, Commander Alexander Gerst locked the lab’s robot arm onto the cargo ship one-and-a-half hours later than planned.

In addition to holiday offerings — including smoked turkey, green bean casserole and fruit cake — mice and worms also were delivered for science experiments.

Three astronauts will be on board the station on Christmas, while three others will return to Earth on December 20. Until then, the station will be home to six astronauts: Gerst, who is German, two Americans, two Russians and one Canadian. (VOA)