An Atlas 5 rocket took off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Sunday on a resupply mission to the International Space Station. The Cygnus capsule carries supplies such as clothing, food, spacewalk equipment, scientific experiments and other supplies much needed by the ISS team.
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The last time any US shipment arrived the ISS was in April this year, and the astronauts aboard the ISS had been in need for fresh supplies for quite some time. Their supplies have not actually run out, but it will be in the next four months unless fresh supplies are shipped out to them.
The Atlas 5 rocket blasted off after being delayed for three days due to bad weather that would not permit early takeoff; but it eventually did on Sunday bearing 3,500 kg or 7,700 lb of food and other science materials.
The reason their food supplies have run low to last them only 4 months instead of the 6 months NASA desires was because of the several botched missions that should have resupplied them.
Orbital ATK, one of the companies NASA contracted to deliver supplies to the ISS had its resupply rocket explode on October last year, and the other company, SpaceX, also experienced a launch failure this year June. And Russia that could have helped out also lost a resupply ship earlier this year.
In order to make this latest launch possible, Orbital ATK purchased the rocket Atlas 5 belonging to another company to be able to meet deadlines for the resupply mission to the ISS.
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President of United Launch Alliance, Tory Bruno, tweeted that “Santa is on his way!” after the rocket took off for the ISS; and ISS US commander Scott Kelly responded in a tweet that he “Caught something good on the horizon.”