Aerospace and defence technology company Northrop Grumman has successfully launched a Cygnus cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS) for Nasa.

Built by Northrop Grumman, the Cygnus cargo ship is carrying approximately 8,000lb of cargo, including scientific research, supplies and hardware.

It lifted off from Nasa’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on 20 February.

Designated as NG-15, this is the 15th resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). It is part of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Service-2 contract for the company.

Northrop Grumman on its official Twitter account said: “Carrying more than 8,000 pounds of cargo, the S.S. Katherine Johnson #Cygnus spacecraft has successfully launched aboard our #Antares rocket, and will dock with the @Space_Station on Monday at 4:40 am ET.”

The NG-15 mission’s Cygnus spacecraft was launched aboard the company’s Antares rocket.

Besides Cygnus, the 139ft-tall rocket also carried 30 secondary payloads called ThinSats.

The first stage of the rocket is powered by two Russian-made RD-181 engines fuelled by rocket-grade kerosene.

Sponsored by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority for grades 4-12, the ThinSats programme is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach programme.

They were developed by students from 70 schools in nine states. including Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland and West Virginia.

After departing from the station, Cygnus will deploy a number of CubeSats, including the Dhabisat developed by Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, UAE, through its Slingshot deployer and a Nanoracks deployer.