Cape Canaveral, Florida (AFP) – A space station cargo ship set off on Friday loaded with a 360-degree camera for spacewalks, radish seeds for cultivation and a variety of fine meats and cheeses.
Northrop Grumman launched its capsule to the International Space Station from the coast of Virginia, and provided a nighttime treatment for observers from Carolina to New England, at least where the skies were clear.
The 8,000-pound (3,600-kilogram) cargo will arrive at the space station on Monday.
Hidden on board the Cygnus capsule: pressurized air tanks to help offset an annoying leak on the space station, a new $ 23 million titanium toilet for women, and a virtual reality camera to provide cinematic spacewalks and other outdoor shots.
Plus there is more fresh food than usual, given that the population of the space station will expand from six to seven with the launch of the second SpaceX astronaut on October 31.
Among the delicacies ordered by the astronauts: proscuitto, Genoa salami, smoked gouda and provolone, brie, cherry tomatoes, oranges, pecans and cranberries dipped in chocolate plenty of time for Thanksgiving.
Astronauts will also get a chance to enjoy their harvest. Researchers hope to increase 40 radishes from seeds, within a month.
While growing radishes in orbit may seem trivial, “it’s actually a transition from basic plant biology in space to a production system” that could benefit moon and Mars explorers, said Karl Hasenstein, professor of biology at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette. Driving experience.
Larger plants like peppers and tomatoes should follow within a few years, which adds to the astronauts’ diet.
Meanwhile, NASA’s new toilet will be tested at the orbital site before escorting astronauts to the moon in a few years’ time. It will join two of the larger Russian-made commodes already there. The new is designed to better accommodate women, who are expected to have an increased presence in space exploration.
This special capsule, in fact, SS Kalpana Chawla, is named after the first woman born in India in space. Chawla was among the seven astronauts killed in the shuttle Columbia accident in 2003.
Delivery will be delayed a little. Bad weather on Wallops Island led to a two-day delay earlier in the week, then software problems thwarted the Antares Northrop Grumman missile launch at the last minute on Thursday.
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