Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo ship is on its way to the space station to transport materials and supplies, including a 7-person pizza-making kit, fresh cheese, apples, tomatoes, and kiwis. With a capacity of 3.7 tons of materials and supplies, it is the heaviest cargo to date on the orbital station.
In addition to food, the space cargo ship props up new solar panels, a material that simulates lunar dust to be used to create objects from the 3D printer on the space station.
Launched with an Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia, at 00.01 Italian time, the Cygnus cargo has regularly deployed solar panels and is scheduled to dock at the orbital station at 12.10 Italian time on August 12.
NASA astronaut Megan MacArthur will use the Canadarm2 robotic arm again to lock Cygnus upon its arrival, while European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Bisquet will monitor the operation.
This is the 16th flight to the space station and the 5th commercial refueling operated by Northrop Grumman for NASA. The capsule was named SS Ellison Onizuka, in honor of the first Asian American who died in the 1986 Challenger explosion. The next flight to the space station is in a Dragon capsule with SpaceX expected in a few weeks.
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