WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (Seal News) — A U.S. rocket was launched on Saturday from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, carrying cargo with the space agency’s resupply mission for the International Space Station (ISS).
The Antares rocket built by Northrop Grumman lifted off at 9:59 a.m. EDT, carrying the Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the ISS.
The spacecraft successfully separated from the rocket about nine minutes after the blastoff, flying on its way to the space station, according to NASA’s live broadcast.
The spacecraft is expected to dock with the space station early Monday morning, according to NASA.
The spacecraft carried about 8,200 pounds (3,719 kg) of supplies and scientific experiments to the station.
Cygnus is delivering specially designed tools to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-02 (AMS-02), a large science instrument fixed outside station that has been searching for dark matter and antimatter. The AMS-02 features a thermal control system developed by Chinese scientists.
Samuel Ting, a Chinese-born American scientist who headed a 600-member multinational team that developed the AMS project, said at Friday’s press conference that the AMS will continue to collect and analyze data for the lifetime of the space station, as new and exciting discoveries can be expected whenever a precision instrument such as the AMS is used to explore the unknown.
The spacecraft will also send an oven into the space laboratory to examine heat transfer properties and the process of baking food in microgravity.
The toaster-like oven with a top temperature of 363.3 degrees Celsius, or 685 degrees Fahrenheit, is expected to offer a way to increase variety in flavor and nutrition of food on future long-duration space missions.
The spacecraft is scheduled to stay at the space station until January.