SpaceX capsule back at space station with pre-Christmas haul

SpaceX launch livestream ISS

SpaceX launch livestream ISS

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket takes off from Cape Canaveral Friday.

A recycled SpaceX Dragon cargo ship approaches the International Space Station on December 17, 2017 to be captured by astronauts via a robotic arm.

A used SpaceX Dragon cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station for the second time Sunday (Dec. 17) delivering more than 2 tons of NASA supplies just in time for Christmas. For the first time ever, the spaceflight company flew a mission using mostly refurbished technology. Moving forward, NASA says it will make the decision to fly used rockets for resupply missions on a case-by-case basis.

"It's a great day to see Dragon back at ISS again", Mission Control radioed.

But NASA did share that it electronically sent up a copy of the newly released "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" movie on Friday, as a special holiday treat for the astronauts.

"A variant of the Dragon spacecraft, called Crew Dragon, is being developed for US-based crew transport to and from the space station".

The second stage continued to propel the Dragon toward the International Space Station, while the tall portion of the rocket powered its engines and maneuvered its grid fins to guide it back to Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It was damaged during a SpaceX rocket explosion in September 2016 and has been in the fix process until now.

Ven Feng, a NASA manager, said he had "a little sense of deja vu" watching Friday's launch and landing of the same rocket he saw take off and return in June.

This morning's launch will carry almost 4,800 pounds of cargo to the ISS.

However, it was the first such effort for NASA, SpaceX's most important customer. "The net result is about equivalent risk".

The Falcon 9 first stage lands at Cape Canaveral after launch.

Also on-board: A habitat containing 40 mice to be used as research subjects for scientists investigating the efficacy of a drug delivery system for patients on Earth with muscle atrophy, a miniature blood glucose monitor that could be used by people with diabetes, and two commercial investigations from Budweiser that will study how the microgravity environment on the space station affects barley.

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