WASHINGTON – An unmanned cargo ship which blasted off on Sunday to deliver 3,350 kilograms of food, 14 miniature satellites (CubeSats) and general supplies for six astronauts living at the International Space Station is set to arrive today.
This barrel-shaped Cygnus cargo ship launched atop an Antares rocket is the eighth cargo mission to space by Orbital ATK Incorporated, an American aerospace manufacturer and defense industry company.
The company has a $1.9-billion (R24.7-billion) contract with NASA to resupply the orbiting outpost and re-stock the space lab.
The rocket which was supposed to be launched on Saturday, had to be launched on Sunday from Wallops Island in Virginia due to an unexpected aircraft in the area.
In their twitter account, Orbital ATK has reported that the rocket continues to operate nominally as it makes its way to the Space Station.
According to Orbital ATK, the unmanned cargo rocket into the space is one of the best technological innovations that the world has ever witnessed.
Amongst the experiments on board is a satellite that will test how bacteria grows in microgravity, and determine the minimum amount of antibiotic needed to stop its growth.
The cargo ship is expected to be sent back to earth in December carrying all the trash and other products that are no longer needed in the space.
The current crew of six astronauts on duty at the space station include three Americans, two Russians and one Italian.