NASA prefers to have six months' supplies for the astronauts on board the station in case of hiccups with launch vehicles. Right now the stock of food, water and related supplies is at roughly four or 4.5 months, NASA's Dan Hartman said at the same briefing.
The agency expects several more launches in the coming months that will slowly help bring up those levels, he added, bringing them up to six months' reserve again by November. This includes two other planned SpaceX flights, cargo ships from Japan and Russia, a crew launch from Kazakhstan and in the fall, an Orbital Sciences launch.
But first, Dragon must accomplish its mission of bringing roughly 4, 400 lbs. (1, 995 kilograms) of supplies, science experiments and equipment up to the station, including a new group of rodents for orbital research and an ISSpresso coffee machine. Then the spacecraft will come back to Earth after about a month in orbit, splashing down with items that are no longer needed on station.
"It will stay up there for 35 days, which is the longest we've ever done, I believe, " Koenigsmann said. "Then it will be unberthed and will depart from the ISS and land in the...
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