A robotized Cygnus spacecraft successfully left Earth from Virginia on late Oct. 2, packing approximately 4 tons of gear, including a high tech space toilet to the International Space Station.
A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket brightened up the evening sky at 9:16 p.m. EDT (0116 GMT on Oct. 3). It carried on the Cygnus NG-14 mission to the space station from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.
The cargo aboard includes scientific equipment, hardware, supplies, and the aforementioned experimental space toilet.
The load would come in handy for the Expedition 63/64 astronauts living and working on the ISS.
The launch happened after a chain of delays due to weather-related problems and less than a day after a launch abort because of a ground support equipment issue.
Aside from crew supplies and hardware, the launch sent a set of impressive scientific investigations and tools to the space station.
The space toilet, officially known as the Universal Waste Management System, costs $23 million, and the astronauts aboard the ISS will test it for future use on the station and missions to the moon.
The Cygnus loadout consisted of many investigations.
For example, the experiment Plant-Habitat-02 aims to expand our knowledge of growing plants in space.
With that experiment, researchers will analyze how the plants grow in various light and soil conditions.
That might help “optimize growth of the plants in space as well as provide an assessment of their nutrition and taste,” NASA stated.
Another experiment would help researchers develop new cancer treatments.
Though testing cancer medicine in microgravity might help reveal treatments that “make good candidates for safer, more effective, and affordable medicines to treat leukemia and other cancers,” according to NASA.