It's Dessert Night on the International Space Station Thursday night after astronauts unpacked a shipment of ice cream from the newly arrived Dragon capsule, Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports.
"It's quite a treat," said Suni Williams, a NASA astronaut. "We don't usually have this kind of stuff up here. It's usually thermo-stabilized or de-hydrated that we're hydrating, so homemade ice cream is something special, and we're going to have a little party."
SpaceX's Dragon capsule arrived Wednesday morning on the first official resupply mission by a private contractor, carrying 882 pounds of crew supplies, hardware and science equipment.
Japanese astronaut Aki "Golden Hands" Hoshide, as Williams called her Expedition 33 colleague, snared the Dragon with a robotic arm, and Williams berthed it to a docking port.
The three-person crew, which also includes Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, swung open the hatch at 1:40 p.m. Wednesday.
She congratulated SpaceX and NASA on starting "a whole generation of commercial spacecraft coming up here for resupply," noting the Dragon's unique capability to return large amounts of cargo to Earth.
"This vehicle right here has a freezer which we're all anticipating and excited about going in to see what's in there that came up here," she joked about the ice cream. "But more importantly, it's going to be bringing back samples that have been taken over the past couple of years of people living up here, and that's really important for the advancement of spaceflight," she said.
The Dragon will return hundreds of blood and urine samples taken by station crew members that scientists will analyze to learn more about the effects of living in microgravity. They haven't had a ride home since the shuttle's retirement.
That's the real purpose of the freezer called a GLACIER that brought up the ice cream.
The vanilla with chocolate swirl Blue Bell Sundae Ice Cream Cups come from a dairy popular among the astronaut corps in Houston, according to Robert Pearlman of CollectSpace.com.
Williams floated one of the blue-capped cups in front of her during an interview today.
"We just unpacked it this afternoon, so we put it in our refrigerator here waiting to have it tonight," she said.
And she revealed her favorite ice cream flavor: "Good, old-fashioned vanilla is my favorite, because then you can add things to it," she said.
The Dragon is expected to remain berthed at the station until Oct. 28. Three more crew members including, American Kevin Ford, are due to arrive Oct. 25.
Williams' crew is due to depart Nov. 12. NASA is assessing whether to ask her to perform a spacewalk to repair station equipment before she leaves.
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