Cygnus cargo ship honoring 'Hidden Figure' Katherine Johnson arrives at space station

 Worms, an advanced supercomputer, an artificial retina experiment and more arrived at the International Space Station on a Cygnus cargo ship Monday (Feb. 22) after a two-day spaceflight.

The Northrop Grumman Cygnus NG-15 spacecraft bearing these experiments and more than 8,200 lbs. (3,719 kilograms) of supplies pulled up to orbiting complex at 4:38 a.m. EST (0938 GMT). The spacecraft is named after Katherine Johnson, a Black NASA mathematician and "Hidden Figure" best known for assisting with the first human moon-landing mission, Apollo 11, in 1969.

Expedition 64 astronaut and flight engineer Soichi Noguchi, of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, caught the S.S. Katherine Johnson using the robotic Canadarm2. Assisting him was NASA Expedition 64 astronaut and flight engineer Michael Hopkins, NASA said in an update. Activities were also carried live on NASA Television. 

Video: Watch the Antares rocket launch of Cygnus NG-15!
Private Antares rocket & Cygnus explained (infographic) 

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At 7:16 EST (11:16 GMT), ground controllers berthed the spacecraft to the Earth-facing port of the Unity module, where it was locked into place for a mission that will last until May, NASA said in a second update on the spacecraft.

Cygnus spent a little less than two days journeying to its destination after launching on a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket from Pad 0A of  the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Saturday (Feb. 20). 

The experiments it launched included an investigation concerning worm muscle strength, an artificial retina experiment, and the SpaceBorne Computer-2 from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the latter of which aims to reduce the amount of data sent to the ground by processing more information in orbit.

The ISS astronauts will unload everything from Cygnus and eventually reload it with trash, ahead of its departure in May. When the last Cygnus spacecraft left the space station in January, it hosted the latest of a series of experiments to investigate behavior of fire in space, called Saffire V. It also tested high-speed 5G communications before burning up in Earth's atmosphere, as planned.

A breakdown of the cargo aboard the Cygnus NG-15 supply ship.

A breakdown of the cargo aboard the Cygnus NG-15 supply ship. (Image credit: NASA TV)

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: