Ice cream, fresh fruit and a 3D printer blast off headed for International Space Station

Ice cream, fresh fruit and a 3D printer have blasted off from the US in a rocket laden with supplies for the International Space Station (ISS) in the second shipment in just two days.

Northrop Grumman launched its Antares rocket from Wallops Island in Virginia before dawn, delighting chilly early-bird observers along the Atlantic coast.

The Russian Space Agency launched its own load of supplies to the ISS on Friday, just 15 hours earlier.

The US delivery will arrive at the orbiting lab on Monday, a day after the Russian shipment.

Supplies will also replace those which did not make it to the ISS in October when a Russian rocket failed. Credit: AP

Among the 7,400lb (528.6 stone or 3,356.6kg) of goods inside the Cygnus capsule are ice cream and fresh fruit for the three space station residents, and a 3D printer that recycles old plastic into new parts.

Experiments also are going up to observe how cement solidifies in weightlessness, among other things.

There is also medical, spacesuit and other equipment to replace items that never made it into orbit last month after a Russian booster rocket failed.

The two men who were riding the rocket survived their emergency landing.

Thanksgiving turkey dinners — rehydratable, of course — are already aboard the 250-mile-high (402km) outpost.

Flames are seen from the Northrop Grumman Antares rocket as it lifts off from Virginia. Credit: AP

The space station is currently home to an American, a German and a Russian, and on Tuesday will mark its 20th year in orbit after the first section of the ISS launched on November 20, 1998, from Kazakhstan.

This Cygnus is named the SS John Young in honour of an astronaut who walked on the moon and commanded the first space shuttle flight, but died in January.

Three other astronauts are set to launch from Kazakhstan on December 3.