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Christmas gifts arrive at space station courtesy of Japan

Christmas gifts have arrived at the International Space Station, courtesy of a delivery from Japan.

A Japanese cargo ship pulled up at the orbiting lab on Tuesday, four days after launching.

The capsule - called Kounotori, or white stork - contains nearly five tons of food, water, batteries and other supplies.

Nasa said there are also Christmas presents for the two Americans, three Russians and one Frenchman on board.

Barely two weeks ago, a Russian supply ship was destroyed shortly after lift-off.

At the same time, one of Nasa's main suppliers, SpaceX, is grounded. So the Japanese delivery is especially welcome.

The astronauts need the six new lithium-ion batteries for next month's spacewalks. They will replace the old nickel-hydrogen batteries that store energy generated by the station's big solar panels.



From Belfast Telegraph