Second shipment of supplies blasts off for space station
Northrop Grumman launched its Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia.
A load of space station supplies has rocketed into orbit from Virginia, the second shipment in two days.
Northrop Grumman launched its Antares rocket from Wallops Island before dawn, delighting chilly early-bird observers along the Atlantic coast.
“What an outstanding launch,” said Nasa’s deputy space station programme manager Joel Montalbano.
The Russian Space Agency launched its own load of supplies to the International Space Station on Friday, just 15 hours earlier.
The US delivery will arrive at the orbiting lab on Monday, a day after the Russian shipment.
LIFTOFF! @northropgrumman’s #Antares rocket just launched from @NASA_Wallops in Virginia. Heading to @Space_Station, the #Cygnus cargo vehicle will deliver about 7,400 pounds of @ISS_Research and cargo. Watch as it continues its journey into space: https://t.co/mzKW5uDsTi pic.twitter.com/vpUXFYvK6S— NASA (@NASA) November 17, 2018
Among the 7,400lb of goods inside the Cygnus capsule are ice cream and fresh fruit for the three space station residents, and a 3D printer that recycles old plastic into new parts.
Thanksgiving turkey dinners — rehydratable, of course — are already aboard the 250-mile-high outpost. The space station is currently home to an American, a German and a Russian.
There is another big event coming up – the ISS marks its 20th year in orbit on Tuesday. The first section launched on November 20 1998 from Kazakhstan.
“As we celebrate 20 years of the International Space Station,” Mr Montalbano said, “one of the coolest things is the co-operation we have across the globe. To me, it’s been a huge success.”
Russia's Progress cargo craft blasted off on its way to the station today at 1:14pm ET. It will arrive at the orbital lab Sunday with about 6,000 pounds supplies and goodies for the crew. https://t.co/dtUGpS6U3G pic.twitter.com/CxuByrSI7J— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) November 16, 2018
This Cygnus is named the SS John Young to honour the famous astronaut who walked on the moon and commanded the first space shuttle flight. He died in January.
It is the first commercial cargo ship to bear Northrop Grumman’s name. The firm acquired Orbital ATK in June. SpaceX is Nasa’s other commercial shipper for the space station.
Experiments also are going up to observe how cement solidifies in weightlessness, among other things.
There is also medical, spacesuit and other equipment to replace items that never made it to orbit last month because of a Russian rocket failure. The two men who were riding the rocket survived their emergency landing.
Three other astronauts are set to launch from Kazakhstan on December 3.