A US company is making its debut this week as a space station delivery service – to provide the lone American aboard the orbiting International Space Station with a fresh stash of chocolate.
“You know that there’s something packed away in that vehicle, something special for you… We’re human beings and we get very excited about the packages from home and some of the treats that we might get,” said Nasa astronaut Karen Nyberg.
The arrival will be on board a new cargo ship named Cygnus – the first shipment by Orbital Sciences Corp to the oribiting lab.
Orbital Sciences is scheduled to launch an unmanned Antares rocket containing Cygnus on Wednesday morning
Nasa is paying Orbital Sciences and the California-based SpaceX company to keep the space station well stocked now that the space shuttle era has ended.
Because this is considered a test flight, the Cygnus will carry up mostly food and other nonessential items. That suits Nyberg and her two male crewmates — an Italian and a Russian. They have been in orbit since the end of May, with two more months to go. Three more residents arrive later next week.
Given a Wednesday launch, the Cygnus should arrive at the space station on Sunday. Unlike the SpaceX Earth-returning Dragon, it will be filled with trash and, once cut loose, burn up during descent.