Rendezvous with Routine

This week another one of Orbital ATK’s unmanned (self-driving?) International Space Station resupply rockets lifted off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, VA. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the launch is that it was so unremarked: it received a paucity of media attention that would have astounded anyone from the age of Gemini and Apollo.

The payload includes the Cygnus spacecraft and 7,400 pounds of spare parts, scientific equipment, and food. No word as to whether the menu includes Space Food Sticks, Tang, or Purina Astronaut Chow. (Maybe we’ll know that space travel is finally here to stay when someone publishes the first Orbital Cookbook. )

It seems to be in the nature of humankind’s most impressive achievements to drift down from the lofty perches they first occupy to end up, eventually, floating around in the back of the family station wagon—or space station.

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