Coffee’s Up!

A photograph showing Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, sporting her Starfleet uniform on board the International Space Station.#BlueDot

Expedition 43 astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti snapped this photograph of herself wearing the Starfleet uniform from TV series “Star Trek: Voyager” aboard the International Space Station, and posted it on her Twitter account @AstroSamantha last month.

The “Dragon” mentioned in her tweet is the SpaceX Dragon freighter, which arrived last week with supplies for the mission, including one of the most essential supplies of all: coffee. The freighter contained the ISSpresso, a new type of coffeemaker developed by Italian engineering firm Argotec and Italian coffee company Lavazza.

An infographic explaining how the Falcon SpaceX reusable rocket is meant to work. The title reads: "Daring Test of SpaceX's Falcon 9 Reusable Rocket". In space first, the booster rocket used to launch a Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station will attempt to fly back down and land safely on an offshore floating platform. Powered by one Merlin 1D engine, the second stage can be restarted multiple times to place payloads into orbit. Falcon 9 v1.1 Height: 224.4 feet $ ($68.4 metres$ )$ Diameter: 12 ft. $ ($3.7 m$ )$ Mass: 1.1 million lbs. $ ($505,846 kg$ )$ Fuel: Kerosene with liquid oxygen oxidiser. Payload to low Earth orbit: 28.991 lbs. $ ($13,150 kg$ )$.Following the flawless blast-off of the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster and Dragon cargo ship on Tuesday 14th April, the resupply vessel arrived at the International Space Station, and was successfully snared by the outpost’s resident ‘Star Trek’ crewmate, Italian astronaut Sam Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, donning her futuristic outfit from the famed TV show near and dear to space fans throughout the Galaxy!

On 17th April 2015, Cristoforetti grappled the SpaceX Dragon freighter with the station’s robotic arm at 6:55 a.m. EDT, with the able assistance of fellow crewmate and Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA.

Dragon is hauling critical supplies to the six astronauts and cosmonauts serving aboard, that now includes the first ever ‘One-Year Mission’ crew comprising NASA’s Scott Kelly and Russia’s Mikhail Kornienko.  The freighter was loaded with more than 4,300 pounds of supplies, science experiments, and technology demonstrations, including critical materials to support about 40 of more than 250 science and research investigations during the station’s Expeditions 43 and 44.

Among the research investigations are a fresh batch of 20 rodents for the Rodent Research Habitat, and experiments on osteoporosis to counteract bone deterioration in microgravity, astronaut vision loss, protein crystal growth, and synthetic muscle for prosthetics and robotics.  This time around also included was a new Espresso machine to enhance station morale during the daily grind some 250 miles above Earth.

A screenshot of Sam Cristoforetti's comment on 17th April 2015 on Twitter: @AstroSamantha "There's coffee in that nebula"... ehm, Imean... in that #Dragon.Cristoforetti and Virts were manipulating the 17-metre-long (57.7-foot) Canadian-built robotic arm, while working inside the International Space Station’s seven-windowed domed Cupola.

The photo taken on board the ISS gives a whole new meaning to the phrase: “Coffee’s up”.

Mine’s a macchiato, Captain!  I mean…  Flight Engineer Cristoforetti…  That resemblance with the Kathryn Janeway character is uncanny…