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3-D printer reaches space station

The International Space Station accepted another SpaceX shipment - containing the first 3-D printer ever launched into orbit.

The SpaceX cargo ship, Dragon, has arrived at the space station two days after blasting off from Cape Canaveral, Florida .

German astronaut Alexander Gerst used a robot arm to grab the capsule.

The Dragon is delivering more than 5,000lbs of supplies, with the 3-D printer - an experimental model - taking top billing among the payload.

Also on board are mice and flies for biological research, fresh spacesuit batteries so Nasa can resume routine spacewalks, and a 30 million dollar (£18 million) instrument to measure ocean wind.

Nasa is paying California-based company SpaceX to stock the station. Last week, the firm won the right to transport astronauts, although that is still a few years off.

The Dragon will remain at the orbiting outpost for about a month, where it will be filled with experimental materials and data for return to Earth.

The Dragon is the only unmanned cargo capsule capable of returning items, and this mission marks its fifth visit to the space station.

Another spacecraft is due to arrive in another couple days.

Russia is poised to launch a Soyuz spacecraft from Kazakhstan on Thursday with a three-person crew. That will bring the number of astronauts at the space station to the usual six.


From Belfast Telegraph