An Antares rocket from Northrop Grumman has successfully launched the Cygnus cargo spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station. The launch happened at 9:59AM from the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport as anticipated. Assuming nothing unusual happens, NASA says the cargo vessel will arrive at the ISS on Monday, November 4, carrying a huge load of supplies and scientific materials.
Resupply missions are regularly launched to the International Space Station; the vessel carrying the gear will be docked with the ISS in a couple of days, after which point it will be unloaded. Northrop Grumman is one of the multiple private American space companies that NASA uses to send its cargo to its astronauts on the space station.
In a new video (below), NASA details some of the items being sent to the ISS as part of this latest cargo run. Among other things, astronauts on the ISS will be testing recycling processes, a new vest that offers protection from space radiation, a Budweiser beer experiment that will see how barley acts in space, the recently detailed carbon fiber tests conducted for Lamborghini, and more.
The International Space Station provides a unique environment for conducting certain types of experiments that wouldn’t otherwise be possible on Earth. Some experiments are conducted on behalf of private companies that pay to get their experiments sent into space; others are conducted on behalf of space agencies to help gather data needed for future space missions.
NASA has launched many experiments to learn about the effects of space and microgravity environments on human health, as well as studying ways to grow plants in space as a way to help sustain future manned missions to the far reaches of space. According to NASA, there are currently hundreds of scientific investigations taking place on the ISS.