The International Space Station got a new visitor Wednesday, one who came bearing gifts.
Launched three days earlier from a seaside launch pad in Virginia, Orbital Sciences’ private Cygnus cargo spacecraft arrived Wednesday morning with a ton and a half of food, science experiments, mini-satellites, and other equipment, as well as experimental gym clothes designed to resist bacteria and odor.
ISS Commander Steven Swanson used a giant robot arm to grasp the SS Janice Voss, as both spacecraft craft zoomed at more than 17,000 miles per hour some 260 miles above northern Libya.
"I think everybody's breathing again," Mission Control radioed. "We felt like we were up there with you."
With the help of other crewmembers, Swanson guided the capsule to the Earth-facing side of the space stations Harmony module. Two hours later, the capsule was bolted to the docking port, where it will remain for a month.
Orbital Sciences named this newest Cygnus vehicle in honor of Janice Voss, a NASA astronaut and Orbital employee who passed away in February 2012.
"We now have a seventh crew member," said Swanson. "Janice Voss is now part of Expedition 40. Janice devoted her life to space and accomplished many wonderful things at NASA and Orbital Sciences, including five shuttle missions. And today, Janice’s legacy in space continues. Welcome aboard the ISS, Janice."
Mission Control also praised Dr. Voss, who never made it to the space station during her shuttle travels.
It's the third space station shipment for Orbital Sciences Corp. NASA is paying Orbital Sciences as well as the SpaceX company to haul up supplies.
Once emptied, the capsule will be loaded with trash and set loose in mid-August for a fiery re-entry.
The Virginia-based Orbital Sciences made its first space station delivery last September. The second occurred in January.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.