Cookies in space: Oven sent to ISS for baking experiments

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The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard, launching from Nasa's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, 2 NovemberImage source, AFP/Nasa/Bill Ingalls
Image caption,
The cargo is being transported on the Northrop Grumman Antares rocket

An oven has been launched to the International Space Station (ISS) for astronauts to bake chocolate chip cookies in.

A cargo craft containing the specially-designed "space oven" and baking ingredients took off from the US state of Virginia on Saturday.

Astronauts are set to test what impact high heat and zero gravity have on the shape and consistency of the cookies.

The experiment is being dubbed the first instance of baking in space.

Hilton's DoubleTree hotel chain, which provided the dough, said the "landmark microgravity experiment" was aimed at making long-duration space travel "more hospitable".

The Cygnus capsule was also loaded with other unusual equipment, including sports car parts and a vest to protect against radiation.

ISS astronauts will test the safety vest to gauge its comfort, while Italian carmaker Lamborghini has sent up samples of carbon fibre used in its sports cars to examine the effects of direct space exposure.

The capsule also contains the equipment needed to complete a series of spacewalks this month to fix a key particle physics detector, as well as a range of research equipment and crew supplies.

The shipment, weighing about 8,200lb (3,700kg), is expected to reach the ISS on Monday.

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Life-sized robot launched into space