Astronauts on board the International Space Station will be receiving an 8,000 pound care package from Earth contained in the Cygnus capsule that was launched from the Virginia coast last Friday night. The cargo contained in the SS Kalpana Chawla capsule was launched atop an Antares rocket. It was named after the first Indian woman in space who was among the seven astronauts killed during the 2003 Columbia shuttle accident.
The capsule comes bearing a special stash of gourmet Genoa salami, prosciutto, provolone, brie , smoked Gouda, summer sausages, tomatoes, oranges, pecans and chocolate-covered cranberries. Radish seeds were also included for astronauts to grow on the ship and hopefully provide the crew with a harvest of around 40 radishes a month.
Growing the radishes in space is part of a production system being adapted by astronauts. Biologist Karl Hasenstein of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette said this transition could help explorers on the moon and Mars. A successful cultivation of root vegetables, could have them sending peppers and tomatoes in the coming years.
The highly publicised cargo capsule also listed 10 bottles of Estee Lauder skin cream that will be filmed and used for a social media campaign along with a 360-degree virtual reality camera to provide cinematic views of spacewalks and other outdoor shots.
The astronauts also get a precious £18 million titanium toilet custom fit for women. Also called the Universal Waste Management System, the low-gravity lavatory commode is built to better accommodate the female anatomy. The toilet will be tested at the space station prior to accompanying astronauts to the moon in future missions.
Should the crew be satisfied with its performance, another version of the commode will be installed in the Orion spaceship set to take flight with the first female astronaut on board its next mission to the moon in 2024, ABC news reported.
The next batch of astronauts are scheduled to take the place of the current crew on the space station on November 1. The Expedition 64 will carry six male crew members and one female crew member.