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Celestial Care Package: Rocket Launches Supplies to Space Station

Astronauts living on the International Space Station are set to receive a care package from Earth. A rocket carrying a capsule filled with food, clothing, experiment hardware and other supplies launched on Sunday from a NASA flight facility in eastern Virginia. The Antares rocket and Cygnus supply capsule are due to reach the space station by Wednesday, according to Orbital Sciences Corporation, the private company that manufactured the spacecraft. The second mission by Orbital is part of their $1.9 billion contract with NASA to deliver up to 44,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station over eight trips between 2014 and 2016.

More than 3,000 pounds of cargo are packed in Cygnus on the Antares, which is the length of a 13-story building, according to Space.com. The mission had been repeatedly delayed due to technical issues and weather conditions, but David W. Thompson, Orbital’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer was confident that Orbital would "execute another successful mission." The Cygnus will remain at the space station for a month before it is filled with trash and released into the atmosphere, where it will eventually combust, according to Space.com.

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— Elisha Fieldstadt