Northrop Grumman is sending its 14th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). With ISS resupply missions always carrying interesting cargo, from muscular mice to human organs, this resupply mission is no different.
Fresh off steering clear of potentially harmful debris, the ISS is set to receive another batch of cargo under the mission dubbed Cygnus NG-14. For this mission, the Cygnus spacecraft will carry 7,624 pounds (3,458 kilos) of cargo, which includes radishes, skin care products and a new toilet.
The skin care products are not for the astronauts but are actually for a rather special photoshoot aboard the ISS for the brand Estee Lauder. Sending 10 bottles of its Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex brand, Estee Lauder reportedly paid NASA over $120,000 to have the products photographed with the view of space from the ISS, making it the first sponsored beauty brand to go to space.
As for the radishes and the new toilet, they are actually for investigations and demonstrations that could help with future space missions. The radishes will be the latest crop in the efforts to grow produce in space, adding to the different types of lettuce already aboard the space station. In the unique environment provided by the ISS, growing these crops can help further the understanding of how humans can eventually sustain life on other worlds, especially with the future plans to go to the moon and Mars.
The Universal Waste Management System (UWMS) is no regular toilet either because it is 40% lighter and 65% smaller than the current one being used aboard the ISS. With a newer design specifically for space exploration, it is said to be easier, more reliable and more time-saving to use.
Other items headed for the ISS include cancer therapies to be tested in microgravity, and a 360-degree camera that will document life aboard the ISS for a virtual reality series set to premier this fall.
Initially scheduled for Tuesday, the Cygnus NG-14 launch has been pushed to Thursday at 9:38 pm EDT from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at the Wallops Flight Facility.
Northrop Grumman has named the mission the S.S. Kalpana Chawla after astronaut Kaplana Chawla, the first woman of Indian descent to go to space and one of the seven astronauts who died in the 2003 Columbia shuttle tragedy.