A supply ship built by aerospace company Northrop Grumman arrived at the International Space Station Thursday, delivering 3,700-kilograms of cargo to the orbiting laboratory, the largest load ever.
The Cygnus was captured by NASA Astronaut Meghan McArthur using the station's robotic arm. She guided it to the berthing port on the station's Unity module, where it was bolted into place.
Among the supplies delivered to the ISS, a material simulating moon dust and dirt that will be used to create items from the space station's 3D printer. The experiment is designed to explore how building materials may one day be created from resources found on the moon or Mars.
There is also a new carbon dioxide (CO2) scrubber, designed to demonstrate how to more efficiently remove CO2 from a spacecraft. Using four absorption beds, it removes water vapor and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, returning water vapor to the cabin and venting carbon dioxide overboard or diverting it to a system that uses it to produce water.
The Cygnus delivery is Northrop Grumman’s 16th supply run for NASA. The craft arrived after launching on top of an Antares rocket Tuesday from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The supply ship will remain at the space station for about three months until the spacecraft departs in November.
Some information in this report came from the Associated Press.