NASA launches cargo spacecraft named after Kalpana Chawla

NASA launched a commercial cargo spacecraft, named after the late astronaut Kalpana Chawla. Offering tribute to her, on Friday night, the SS Kalpana Chawla headed for the International Space Station (ISS). Chawla was the first Indian woman and only second Indian astronaut to have travelled in space. The Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft has been launched in celebration of her key contributions to human spaceflight, NASA noted.

Robyn Gatens, acting director of the International Space Station at NASA headquarters, said that the flight is carrying 6,000 pounds of cargo including refined radishes and a 3D camera, that’s going to go on the outside of the space station to take images when the crew is doing a spacewalk.

“Well, we’ve got a little bit of everything on this flight we’ve got 6000 pounds of cargo going up, we have the. We have several things enabling future exploration missions, beyond the space station, so our missions to the moon and to Mars. Not only do we have the toilet, that you’ve heard about but we have another one in our series of fire safety experiments called Sapphire, we have a component of our new spacesuit that we’ll be testing in microgravity on the space station.”

– Robyn Gatens, acting director of the International Space Station at NASA headquarters

Research aboard the spacecraft comprises of the test of a biologic drug that could be used for the treatment of leukemia, a plant growth study that will cultivate radishes as a model for future crops in space.