CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A space station cargo ship rocketed into orbit Friday carrying a 360-degree camera for spacewalking, radish seeds for growing and a smorgasbord of fancy meats and cheeses for feasting.
Northrop Grumman launched its capsule to the International Space Station from the Virginia coast, providing a nighttime treat for observers from the Carolinas to New England, at least where skies were clear.
“It was a spectacular launch,” NASA’s deputy space station program manager Kenny Todd said. “Creating the artificial dawn for a few minutes there, it’s just gorgeous.”
The 8,000-pound shipment should reach the space station Monday.
Stashed aboard the Cygnus capsule: pressurized air tanks to help offset a vexing leak at the space station, a new $23 million titanium toilet custom fit for women, and a virtual reality camera to provide cinematic views of spacewalks and other outdoor shots.
Plus there’s more fresh food than usual, given that the space station population will be expanding from six to seven with SpaceX’s second astronaut launch on Oct. 31.
Among the delicacies requested by the astronauts: proscuitto, Genoa salami, smoked Gouda and provolone, brie, cherry tomatoes, oranges, pecans and chocolate-covered cranberries in time for Thanksgiving.
The astronauts also will get a chance to enjoy their own harvest. Researchers are hoping for 40 radishes from the seeds going up, within a month.
NASA’s new toilet will be tested at the outpost before accompanying astronauts to the moon in a few years.