Life on the International Space Station isn’t quite as convenient as it is for the rest of us here on Earth. With no convenient restaurants or convenience stores anywhere in sight, astronauts and cosmonauts who reside there are instead compelled to rely on the occasional resupply mission send there by NASA or Roscosmos via rocket. Resupply missions such as these happen once every several months in order to sustain supply levels.
Image Credit: NASA
International Space Station resupply missions are planned long in advance with an ample grace period in place to accommodate for any unforeseen issues or delays. It just so happens that one of these resupply missions blasted off from a launchpad situated at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia yesterday afternoon.
In a public statement issued by NASA yesterday afternoon, we learn that an Antares 230+ rocket lofted a Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft into space at approximately 3:21 P.M. Eastern time yesterday, and that it was carrying approximately 7,500 pounds’ worth of supplies that will soon be delivered to the Earth-orbiting space lab’s front door.
From what we can gather, the 7,500 pounds of cargo consisted of new science experiments, fresh food and water, and even fresh stores of breathable air to sustain those onboard the International Space Station for the next several months.
The rocket launch was streamed live for the entire world to see, and if you didn’t get the chance to watch it, then the footage has been uploaded to NASA’s YouTube channel for those interested:
While the Cygnus spacecraft made it to outer space safely yesterday afternoon, it isn’t expected to arrive at the International Space Station until Tuesday. At that time, astronauts residing there will utilize the station’s robotic arm to pull the capsule toward the air lock and complete the docking procedure.
After the new supplies are carried onboard, International Space Station astronauts will repurpose the Cygnus spacecraft as a storage unit for spent science experiments and garbage waste. The capsule will remain there until May, after which it will return to Earth for recovery.