Antares rocket, with Cygnus spacecraft atop, all set to launch

Antares rocket, with Cygnus spacecraft atop, all set to launch

A spacecraft scheduled to take nearly four thousand pounds of supplies for the six astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) is all set to launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia.

The Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft atop, currently sits on Pad 0A at space agency NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on the Wallops Island, awaiting scheduled launch at 12:52 p. m. on Sunday. Prelaunch coverage will start at 11:30 a. m.

The Cygnus spacecraft is packed with 3,668 pounds of supplies, including 1684 pounds of crew supplies including food, 783 pounds of health care ISS maintenance hardware, 18 pounds of computing, photo and TV equipment, 87 pounds of spacewalk equipment, and 721 pounds of science & research equipment.

Science payload includes experiments created by students from North Carolina and other locations. An experiment created by students of Greensboro's Mendenhall Middle School will probe how calcium sulfate crystals grown in space diverge from sulfate crystals grown on Earth.

A previous experiment showed that a jellyfish born in space lack the ability to sense direction after it was taken back to Earth. One of the team members, said, "We wondered if the same thing would happen to humans born in space."

The Cygnus spacecraft will spend nearly 3 days to come catch up with the ISS, where astronauts will grapple using the robotic arm and berth it to the Harmony nodule of the space station.

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