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File photo: An Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus cargo spacecraft lifts off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, the United States, Nov. 2, 2019. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua)

The Cygnus spacecraft will bring about 3,400 kilograms of cargo to the International Space Station.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) — A U.S. rocket was launched on Saturday from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, carrying cargo with the space agency’s resupply mission for the International Space Station (ISS).

The Antares rocket built by Northrop Grumman lifted off at 3:21 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, carrying the Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the ISS.

The spacecraft successfully separated from the rocket about nine minutes after the blastoff, flying on its way to the space station, according to NASA’s live broadcast.

Cygnus is bringing to ISS about 3,400 kilograms of cargo, including testing tools of tissue culturing, bone loss and phage therapy.

Another investigation will demonstrate a new miniature scanning electron microscope, which can enable real-time, on-site imaging and measurements of micro- and nanostructures aboard the space station.

The ability to identify small particles is needed for crewed flight and deep space exploration beyond low-Earth Orbit (LEO) since those samples cannot be sent back to Earth, according to NASA.

Also, fresh fruit and vegetables are among the supplies heading to the space station, according to ISS’s official Twitter account.

Cygnus will be captured by two astronauts on the space station on Tuesday and remain attached for approximately three months before departing with approximately 3,720 kilograms of cargo for disposal.

Northrop Grumman named this Cygnus spacecraft after former astronaut Robert Henry Lawrence Jr. in honor of his place in history as the first African American astronaut.

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