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Antares Rocket takes for ISS

Antares Rocket takes for ISS

A US rocket has been launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore, carrying cargo with the space agency's re-supply mission for the International Space Station (ISS).

The Antares rocket built by Northrop Grumman lifted off on 17 April carrying the Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the ISS.

It carried about 7,600 pounds (3,450 kg) of supplies and scientific experiments to the station. Some instruments it transports will examine astronauts' health in microgravity. It is also carrying 40 intrepid mice.

Why mouse on the rocket?

The mice aboard Cygnus are at the core of one such study, which aims to test the effectiveness of an anti-tetanus vaccine.

The rodents are split into two groups of 20; half will receive the vaccine in space and the other 20 will not receive the vaccine.

Scientists will study the mice to see how the animals responded to the vaccine once they are back on Earth. 

International Space Station

The International Space Station is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit. Its first component was launched into orbit in 1998, with the first long-term residents arriving in November 2000. It has been inhabited continuously since that date.

The total length of the ISS from end to end is about 109 metres (357 feet) while its liveable space is roughly equal to a five-bedroom house.

The ISS orbits the Earth every 90 minutes and since its launch in 1998 it has completed approximately 60,000 orbits and travelled more than 2.4 billion kilometres.

At an estimated cost of $100bn dollars, the ISS is the most expensive single object ever built by mankind.

Roughly half of the total price was contributed by the USA, the rest by other nations including Europe, Japan and Russia.

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