The Northrop Grumman company’s Cygnus cargo ship rocketed away from Virginia’s eastern shore Tuesday and should reach the International Space Station on Thursday with 8,200-pound (3,700-kilogram) shipment including fresh apples, tomatoes and kiwi.Latest space station delivery also includes pizza for seven. The space station is currently home to three Americans, two Russians, one French and one Japanese. It is Northrop Grumman’s 16th supply run for NASA. NASA astronaut Megan McArthur will use the space station’s robotic Canadarm2 to capture Cygnus upon its arrival.
The resupply flight will support dozens of new and existing investigations at the ISS. One of them is pointing to the use of regolith as the raw material and 3D printing as a technique for on-demand construction of habitats and other structures on future space exploration missions. A material simulating regolith, or loose rock and soil, can be found on the surfaces of planetary bodies such as the Moon. Another study, funded by the National Science Foundation in collaboration with the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, seeks to determine whether an engineered tissue platform in microgravity forms the characteristic muscle tubes found in muscle tissue. Such a platform could provide a way to rapidly assess potential drugs prior to clinical trials. Others ar: Flow Boiling and Condensation Experiment (FBCE), a technology to remove carbon dioxide from a spacecraft and more. Some of them are for the preparation of the NASA’s lunar mission Artemis program.