House station launch honours ‘Hidden Figures’ mathematician

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A goose is startled as Northup Grumman’s Antares rocket lifts off the launch pad at Nasa’s Wallops Island flight facility in Wallops Island, Va., Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. The rocket is delivering cargo to the Worldwide House Station.
Picture Credit score: AP

Cape Canaveral: An area station provide ship named after the Black Nasa mathematician featured within the film “Hidden Figures” rocketed into orbit Saturday, the 59th anniversary of John Glenn’s historic launch.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus capsule – dubbed the SS Katherine Johnson – ought to attain the Worldwide House Station on Monday following its launch from Virginia’s jap shore.

Johnson died nearly precisely a yr in the past at age 101.

“Mrs Johnson was chosen for her hand-written calculations that helped launch the primary People into house, in addition to her accomplishments in breaking glass ceiling after glass ceiling as a Black lady,” Frank DeMauro, a Northrop Grumman vp, stated on the eve of liftoff. “A homework project for all of you is to go watch that film after the Cygnus launch.”

Johnson’s numbers contributed to the Feb. 20, 1962, flight wherein Glenn turned the primary American to orbit the world. The movie, launched in late 2016, depicted the trouble put forth by Johnson and different Black ladies at Nasa’s Langley Analysis Centre in Hampton, Virginia, in the course of the early days of house exploration. Langley is 160km from the launch web site at Wallops Island.

Northrop Grumman launched the 4-ton cargo for NASA within the early afternoon from Wallops, the place temperatures have been simply above freezing. The Antares rocket was seen from the Carolinas to Connecticut, no less than the place skies have been clear.

This would be the house station’s second supply in lower than every week. A Russian capsule pulled up Wednesday with apples and oranges, amongst different issues.

“Oh, we love recent meals!!!” tweeted Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. He famous that the house station flew over Virginia simply 10 minutes forward of Saturday’s launch.

Noguchi and his six US and Russian crewmates can anticipate extra apples as soon as the Cygnus arrives, together with tomatoes, nuts, smoked salmon, Parmesan and cheddar cheeses, caramels and coconut strips.

The capsule additionally holds 120,000 tiny roundworms for a muscle experiment, in addition to off-the-shelf laptop gear to extend information processing pace on the house station. Additionally flying: radiation detectors supposed for NASA’s astronaut moon-landing programme, and a brand new system to transform extra of the astronauts’ urine into ingesting water.

It’s Northrop Grumman’s fifteenth station provide run for NASA. SpaceX is NASA’s different shipper.

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