Cygnus cargo ship delivers 4 tons of supplies to space station, including new zero-gravity toilet
A Northrop Grumman Cygnus supply ship wrapped up an automated rendezvous with the International Space Station early Monday, bringing 7,800 pounds of cargo the outpost including research materials, a redesigned “female-friendly” toilet and a high-resolution virtual reality camera.
Sailing high above Egypt and the Gulf of Suez, commander Chris Cassidy, operating the lab’s robot arm, locked onto a grapple fixture at the base of the Cygnus at 5:32 a.m. EDT, two-and-a-half days after itsfrom Wallops Island, Virginia.
Northrop Grumman names its cargo ships, and the latest honored astronaut Kalpana Chawla, who lost her life aboard the space shuttle Columbia.
“In the name of space exploration, all have given some, some have given all,” Cassidy said after capturing the cargo ship. “It’s an honor to welcome the good ship Kalpana Chawla, KC as we knew her. Welcome aboard the International Space Station, KC.”
With the cargo ship secured, Cassidy turned over arm operations to flight controllers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston who remotely pulled the Cygnus in for berthing at the Earth-facing port of the central Unity module.
The unpiloted cargo ship was loaded with four tons of supplies and equipment, including crew food and clothing, experiment hardware and material, the virtual reality camera, the new toilet and even samples of Estée Lauder skin cream that will be used in a commercial photo shoot for the company’s social media platforms.
The $23 million toilet, or “universal waste management system,” is smaller and more sophisticated than the station’s current potty and includes modifications to make it easier for female astronauts to use. Assuming it works as