International Space Station: 3D printing, a coffee machine and new recruits

21 Nov 2014

Astronauts Samantha Cristoforetti, Terry Virts and Anton Shkaplerov. Image via NASA

The International Space Station’s (ISS) latest trio of astronauts are getting ready for their Sunday exhibition skywards, with a coffee machine in tow.

The six-hour trip … wait, let us talk coffee. The machine, brilliantly dubbed ISSpresso, is set to boldly go where no hot beverage maker has gone before, joining Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, American Terry Virts and Russian Anton Shkaplerov in their climb above the clouds to join the crew already circling above our heads.

Aboard the orbital laboratory, Commander Barry Wilmore and flight engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova, are working their scheduled task list of ongoing science and maintenance, waiting for their new pals, and their coffee.

Wilmore worked throughout Monday to install a 3D printer to get the ISS and future crews ready for self-sufficiency, and he’s been calibrating it ever since.

The terrestrial trio’s Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft rolled out onto its launch pad in Kazakhstan yesterday, with the Sunday launch the latest in a long line of cool developments for the ISS.

After nearly six months of duty, astronauts Maxim Suraev, Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst returned to Earth two weeks back, landing safely on the Kazakhstan steppes.

US space agency NASA’s Wiseman and Gerst, an ESA astronaut from Germany, had been posting mind-blowing tweets, with the former’s “one last look outside” particularly awe-inspiring.

Now, with coffee, 3D printing and new recruits, here’s hoping for a whole new raft of awesome snaps. 

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic