It looks as though Santa arrived too late for Christmas where the half dozen space-station astronauts are concerned, as they have finally received their Christmas presents on Sunday. The method where the presents were delivered did not involve any magical flying reindeer and sleigh, but rather, it used a privately launched supply ship which took an extra month to arrive. Well, there is always wisdom in the adage, “Better late than never” as well as “Good things come to those who wait”, don’t you think so?
The astronauts opened up the capsule a day early, where they promptly went ahead to remove the items as soon as the Orbital Sciences Corp. vessel was moored safely at the international space station. The payload included 3,000 pounds of groceries, equipment and experiments, in addition to Christmas gifts from the astronauts’ families as well as a fair amount of fresh fruit from NASA. Heck, ants were also unpacked, being part of an educational project.
NASA is falling upon the private industry to make sure that the orbiting lab remains well stocked after the space shuttle has retired, and in three or four more years’ time, it could eventually deliver rides for US astronauts, too. Hopefully they do not end up with some Genestealers onboard in the next shipment!