Pizza, cheese smorgasbord in latest shipment to space station

A pizza kit and a cheese smorgasbord were among the supplies included in the roughly 8,200-pound shipment launched Tuesday from aerospace technology company Northrop Grumman to be delivered to the International Space Station.

The resupply mission marks the 16th and largest shipment to be delivered by Northrop Grumman under its contract with NASA, according to a press release from the company

Video shared by the space station’s Twitter account showed the Cygnus cargo ship launching from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia just after 6 p.m. Tuesday, with the delivery expected at the space station early Thursday morning. 

The Associated Press reported that along with the pizza and cheese snacks, the shipment for the seven astronauts currently at the space station also includes a mounting bracket for solar wings that are scheduled to launch to the orbiting lab next year, as well as material simulating moon dust and dirt that the astronauts will use to create objects from the station’s 3D printer. 

Aboard the cargo ship is also slime mold for a French experiment as well as a device that uses infrared detection as a prototype for future satellites, according to the AP. 

In addition to three American astronauts, there are two Russian, one French and one Japanese currently aboard the space station. 

The ship that launched Tuesday, the S.S. Ellison Onizuka, is named in honor of the first Asian American astronaut, who was among the crew killed in the 1986 Challenger launch disaster.

Northrop Grumman said that each Cygnus spacecraft is named after an individual “who has made significant contributions to the U.S. space program and human spaceflight.” 

“Aloha to the S.S. Ellison Onizuka,” Northrop Grumman said through Launch Control shortly before the ship took off, according to the AP. 

The company said in its release that the ship will be attached to the space station for about three months before leaving with more than 8,000 pounds of disposal cargo.