NASA Successfully Launches Orbital-2 Cargo To ISS

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NASA Successfully Launches Orbital-2 Cargo To ISS

NASA launched the Orbital-2 Cygnus spacecraft yesterday, the second cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station as part of the $1.9 billion NASA Commercial Resupply Services contract, with another six launches expected by the end of 2016. The pod is carrying 3,300 pounds worth of supplies to the ISS, including spare parts, provisions, and experimental hardware, and it is expected to arrive at the ISS Wednesday morning.

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As the name suggests, the now defunct space shuttle program was supposed to give NASA an easy way to ship supplies and astronauts back and forth between earth and the ISS, but the cost was far more than anyone anticipated. Now that NASA is back to using disposable rockets, the unmanned Orbital missions are a relatively cheap way to resupply the ISS, and the pod will be repurposed for waste removal (by firing it into the atmosphere for incineration) once it has been unpacked.