That trip is a bit further than having Chinese food delivered. NASA completed its second demonstration of supply delivery of food and goodies to the International Space Station, located several miles out in space, after circling the earth more than 17000 miles an hour.
It had to retreat temporarily to make sure certain measurements were working properly. The total cost of twelve deliveries will cost $1.9 billion, starting in December.
The astronauts were very happy to receive the 1300 pound load of food, clothing, goodies and student experiments, especially since it was delayed for a week due to a Russian ship having priority in transporting three astronauts plus a computer glitch. It started out on Sept 18th.
Three new crew members arrived – Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazanskiy and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins. They are joined by the existing Expedition 37 crew made up of NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and cosmonaut Fydor Yurchikhin.
In November, three new crew members will arrive at the Space Station and bring back Nyberg, Parmitano and Yurchikhin.
Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano did vision checks while they were waiting since changes were observed in some astronauts after their return from long spaceflights. Researchers want to know why this occurred
Parmitano continued working on Pro K experiments to figure out how dietary changes effected bone loss in space.
The new crew only took six hours to arrive at the ISS due to a technique involving moving the space station itself. Prior to this, it took two days.
Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano pulled in the capsule called Cygnus with giant claws and everybody on board was cheering. There should be plenty more deliveries of food and goodies in the future.
NASA also has a $1.5 billion contract with SpaceX of which two have been completed.
SpaceX Dragon was the first non-governmental company to send cargo into space last year and very successfully. The difference was they brought cargo back whereas Cygnus will disintegrate the “garbage” on its return flight in October.
The SpaceX Falcon is capable of manned and robotic operation. In 2010, it was the first commercial spacecraft to be recovered from orbit. Their new ship, the DragonRider, will be able to carry up to seven astronauts or a combination of astronauts and cargo.
It’s heat shield will be able to withstand re-entry speeds from the moon or Mars.
There’s a plan in the wings to be able to transport astronauts to the space station rather than hitch rides from Russian rockets. That sounds much more exciting than the daily commute on the freeway so many people on earth have to endure. No traffic jams in space, I would think.
Orbital Science Corp, who provided the delivery, has been catapulted into one of the top companies doing space deliveries, behind Space Exploration Technologies of Hawthorne, California.
Now their problem will be building enough spacecraft and launching them fast enough to fulfill existing contracts.
Under Obama’s administration, NASA changed procedure to rely on private suppliers and has spent billions to get them off the ground.
Orbital is two years behind and wants to catch up by blasting off another cargo in December from Virginia. SpaceX is planning to send three more by next fall. Their delivery flights were the result of twelve years of hard work, research and testing.
NASA hopes to get congressional funding to take astronauts into space by 2017.
Maybe in the future civilians will be ordering food and goodies from their own spaceships, millions of miles in space, not just a NASA Space Station. Hopefully homemade.
Written by Lucille Femine