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The cargo spaceship Cygnus CRS-14, developed by the North American company Northrop Grumman, will leave the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday afternoon. The event will be broadcast live at 13:10 pm on the Nasa TV website or on the agency's YouTube channel.

Unlike Dragon capsules, from SpaceX, the cargo spaceships of the Cygnus family are not reusable. Without a way to control speed during re-entry into the atmosphere, they burn like a meteor and are destroyed before reaching the ground. NASA takes advantage of this fact: before the return trip, the capsule is loaded with garbage generated on board the ISS, which is incinerated with the spacecraft.

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Released in October 2020, CRS-14 was responsible for taking the new toilet installed on board the station to the ISS, developed at a cost of US $ 23 million (more than R $ 120 million). Called the Universal Waste Management System (UWMS), it is 65% smaller and 40% lighter than the model currently used.

radish grown inside the ISS spacecraft
Radish grown on the ISS. Seeds were taken by CRS-14 in October

One of the highlights of the new model is that it has been “optimized for the female crew”. According to Melissa McKinley, manager of NASA's Advanced Logistics Reduction Systems project, the agency spent "a lot of time working with crew members" to make using the toilet more comfortable.

Another pioneering product brought to the ISS by CRS-14 is radishes, part of an experiment for the production of food in orbit. Currently, some types of lettuce and leafy vegetables are already produced at ISS, and radishes are the next step. Astronauts will grow seeds and study how different soil and light conditions affect plant growth in microgravity.

In less than a week another spaceship cargo will leave the ISS: the Dragon CRS-21, from SpaceX, will leave next Monday (11) at 10:25 am. After re-entering the atmosphere, she will use her parachute to land in the North Atlantic. The event will also be broadcast on NASA TV.