The International Space Station will soon be receiving clothing that might prevent astronauts from having to change outfits as frequently. On Sunday, the Cygnus spacecraft launched atop the Orbital Sciences Corp Antares rocket carrying the odor-resistant clothing along with 3,670 lbs. of food, science gear, and mini-satellites. The rocket, 133 feet high, launched from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility on the Virginia coast at 12:52 p.m. EST.
The new clothing, odor and bacteria defensive, is meant to give astronauts an alternative to wearing the same clothing after exercising, something which they are disciplined to do every day for two hours.
“It’s like Christmas in July,” said Frank Culbertson, former astronauts and executive vice president at Orbital Sciences. Six astronauts from Russia, the United States, and Germany are currently aboard the space station.
The Cygnus spacecraft will arrive on Wednesday, and will stay for a month until being unchained from the ISS and sent into the atmosphere for destruction. Before departing, it will be packed with trash, never to land back on Earth again. Cygnus experienced several technical problems which hindered the spacecraft from launching earlier. Inauspicious weather at the Wallops Island launch site and unforeseen engine evaluations accounted for these is issues. The spacecraft is designed to transfer payloads as heavy as 4, 400 lbs.
Orbital Sciences plans to complete eight cargo missions under a $1.9 billion contract with NASA. Sunday’s mission was the second of these eight transfers, which are carried out by SpaceX as well. NASA has also partnered with the European Space Agency, which plans to execute a final supply launch next week. Orbital Sciences is partnered with Italy’s Thales Alenia Space, a joint organization of Thales SA and Finmeccanica SpA.
Saturday was the 5,000th day that astronauts have lived aboard the International Space Station.
“Humans are explorers!” Astronaut Alexander Gerst said, via Twitter.