A spacecraft launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia last week has reached in the International Space Station with special supplies just in time for Easter weekend.
“Astronauts on the International Space Station successfully grappled Northrop Grumman Corp.’s Cygnus spacecraft with the station’s robotic arm, snagging 7,600 lbs (3,447 kilograms) of cargo, just in time for Easter,” space.com reported on Friday.
“The spacecraft is very healthy, it’s performing very well,” Frank DeMauro, vice president and general manager for space systems at Northrop Grumman, said at a post-launch news conference on April 17.
DeMauro said that while no Easter eggs or candy were included in the shipment, holiday fare was delivered, including shrimp cocktail, turkey and a range of desserts for the astronauts to enjoy on the holiday weekend.
The space.com website reported that the cargo also included 40 live mice:
The mice aboard Cygnus are at the core of one such study, which aims to test the effectiveness of an anti-tetanus vaccine. The rodents are split into two groups of 20; half will receive the vaccine in space and the other 20 will not receive the vaccine. Scientists will study the mice to see how the animals responded to the vaccine once they are back on Earth.
According to NASA, the Cygnus spacecraft carried 2,065 pounds of crew supplies, 3,459 pounds of scientific investigations, 53 pounds (of equipment for spacewalks, 1,384 pounds of vehicle hardware, 10 pounds of computer resources, and 77 pounds of Northrop-Grumman hardware to the station.
The NASA website that detailed the operation spotlighted the two astronauts who were in charge of it: American Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency.