Nov. 2 (UPI) — Northrop Grumman launched its Antares rocket Saturday from Wallops Island, Va., carrying 8,000 pounds of supplies and research to the International Space Station.
The rocket propelled the company’s 12th Cygnus spacecraft resupply mission to the ISS.
Liftoff happened at 9:59 a.m. at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility. The NG-12 is expected to rendezvous with the ISS on Monday.
It was the heaviest payload yet for both Antares and Cygnus, at 8,200 pounds. The cargo includes supplies for more than 30 experiments — live rats, a Zero-G oven to bake cookies, a protective vest for use during solar events, and a magnetic spectrometer to search for dark matter and anti-matter.
Northrop Grumman said the NG-12 launch is the first time the company will have to Cygnus spacecraft orbiting the earth at the same time. NG-11 was launched in April.
“Northrop Grumman is honored to continue providing cargo logistics services to the space station under NASA’s second commercial resupply services contract as a trusted partner,” said Frank DeMauro, vice president and general manager, space systems, Northrop Grumman.
“The Cygnus spacecraft continues to provide critical services to the orbiting laboratory while demonstrating a number of innovative capabilities, and our recent partnership with the Eastern Virginia Medical School is just one of the ways we’re expanding our program.”
The company named the NG-12 mission after Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean, who, as commander of Skylab 3, set a record for time spent in space at 59 days. That record has since been broken many times over.
“The S.S Alan Bean’s trip to the space station honors Bean’s dedication to advance capabilities that allowed humans to explore space in greater length and detail, as well as his desire to share his experiences with the rest of the world,” a news release from Northrop Grumman said.