With a full moon and Jupiter shining overhead, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying a Orbital ATK’s Cygnus space capsule launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to go to the International Space Station with some much needed supplies.
The Cygnus capsule is packed with 8,000 pounds of food and equipment, including a commercial-quality 3-D printer.
“It’s like Christmas when a supply craft arrives,” Dan Tani, a former astronaut who now is senior director of mission cargo and operations for Orbital, said in a NASA announcement. “It’s always fun to watch another vehicle approach, and then it’s like opening a box of goodies and finding some stuff you’ve been wanting and some surprises you didn’t know about,” he said.
There’s also a fire experiment that will remain on the Cygnus.
Researchers will ignite a large-scale blaze, in a contained box, to see how it spreads in weightlessness. The fire will not be set until the Cygnus departs the space station.
Once it arrives the Cygnus capsule will stay attached to the space station for two months. Astronauts will unload the cargo and refill the spacecraft with their garbage before releasing it from the station. It will travel away from the ISS and burn up when it reaches the Earth’s atmosphere, with the remains falling into the Pacific Ocean.