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Busy Traffic At The International Space Station

053-1Expedition 47 Flight Engineer Tim Peake of the European Space Agency took this photograph on April 6, 2016, as the International Space Station flew over Madagascar, showing three of the five spacecraft currently docked to the station. The station crew awaits the scheduled launch today, April 8, of the third resupply vehicle in three weeks: a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft, which will be the sixth spacecraft docked following its arrival and installation to the Harmony module on Sunday, April 10. Dragon is carrying 6,900 pounds (3,130 kilograms) of science, crew supplies and hardware; the largest payload is the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM). The BEAM will be attached to the Tranquility module a week after its arrival for a series of habitability tests over two years.

Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo craft, visible at the left of this image, was bolted into place on the Earth-facing port of the station’s Unity module on March 26, 2016. Although the SpaceX and Orbital ATK spacecraft have made 12 launches between them, this will be the first time that the two vehicles, contracted by NASA and developed by private industry to resupply the station, are connected to the space station at the same time.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

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