Rocket delivers robot, ice cream, mice to space station

AFP/Getty Images
SpaceX’s Dragon attached to the International Space Station during its mission.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The International Space Station got its first robot with artificial intelligence Monday, along with some berries, ice cream, and 20 identical brown mice.

SpaceX’s capsule reached the station three days after launching from Cape Canaveral. Station astronaut Ricky Arnold used a large mechanical arm to grab the Dragon capsule as the spacecraft soared above Quebec.

The nearly 6,000-pound delivery included the robot Cimon, pronounced Simon. Slightly bigger than a basketball, the robot from the German Space Agency is meant to assist German astronaut Alexander Gerst with experiments.


Cimon’s brain will constantly be updated by IBM, so its intelligence — and role — keep growing.

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The Dragon was carrying super-caffeinated coffee to go with the fresh blueberries and ice cream.

The genetically identical mice will be used in a study of how space affects the growth of bacteria in their bodies.

‘‘Looking forward to some really exciting weeks ahead as we unload the science and get started on some great experiments,’’ Arnold told Mission Control.