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Orbital cargo ship arrives at space station

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MIAMI: An unmanned cargo ship operated by the US company Orbital ATK arrived on Sunday at the International Space Station, delivering 2.5 tons of food and supplies to the six astronauts living in orbit.

US astronaut Kate Rubins and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi led the operation to grab the incoming Cygnus spaceship with the space station’s robotic arm.

“Capture is complete,” Onishi said after the connection was made at 7:28 am (1128 GMT), likening the grapple to finishing the last stretch of a marathon.

The spaceship launched on October 17 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, marking the first launch of Orbital’s revamped Antares rocket since a previous version exploded shortly after liftoff two years ago.

The cargo ship will remain attached to the space station until November. Astronauts will fill it with trash before sending it off to burn upon re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere.

Three Russian cosmonauts, two American astronauts and one Japanese astronauts are currently staffing the space station, which is the size of a six-bedroom house and circles the Earth every 90 minutes.

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