Nasa shipper Orbital ATK launches space station supplies

One of Nasa’s prime shippers, Orbital ATK, has launched a fresh load of supplies to the International Space Station.

The Antares rocket blasted off from Wallops Island, Virginia, before dawn today, treating early risers along the East Coast to a cosmic light show wherever the skies were clear.

The 7,400lb shipment – a third of it relating to research – should reach the orbiting lab on Thursday.

The Cygnus capsule contains a student cement-mixing experiment, as well as an atom-cooling chamber from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory that uses lasers to get temperatures colder than even space itself. There is also equipment for a spacewalk next month.

Named after the swan constellation, the Cygnus is making Orbital ATK’s ninth contracted delivery for Nasa. SpaceX is Nasa’s other supplier.

- Press Association

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