The American space agency, NASA said in a statement that the Northrop Grumman's Cygnus cargo spacecraft was successfully launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday. The next commercial delivery should be on its way in a couple of weeks.
The launch took place at 4.01 am EST from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore. The spacecraft blasted off on an Antares 230 Rocket with almost 7400 pounds of science and research, crew supplies, including vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. It also has medical, spacesuit and other equipment to replace items that never made it to the orbit last month due to the Russian rocket failure, that was carrying a Soyuz spacecraft, including a Russian and a US astronaut.
Joel Montalbano, NASA's deputy space station program manager expressed his satisfaction and said "What an outstanding launch."
On Friday, the Russian Space Agency also launched its own supplies to the ISS, just 15 hours earlier than NASA's launch. While Northrop Grumman's 10th cargo delivery flight is scheduled to arrive at the orbital laboratory on Monday, November 19, the Russian supply will reach on Sunday.
The space station, currently home to an American, a German and a Russian, is about to mark its 20th year in orbit on Tuesday, November 20, as the first section launched from Kazakhstan on that day in 1998.
The spacecraft for this mission, Cygnus or Swan is named in the honour of the legendary astronaut John Young who walked on the moon during Apollo 16 mission in 1972 and commanded the first space shuttle mission in 1981. Young passed away in January this year.