Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Cygnus Set to Deliver Its Largest Load of Station Science, Cargo
by Steven Siceloff for KSC News
Kennedy Space Center FL (SPX) Mar 22, 2016

Engineers completed the stacking of the Orbital ATK CRS-6 launch vehicle when the Cygnus cargo spacecraft was bolted to the top of the Atlas V rocket at the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Image courtesy NASA/Dimitrios Gerondidakis. For a larger version of this image please go here.

A new 3D printer and research projects examining everything from adhesive technologies to the behavior of large fires in space are packed inside an Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft for launch Tuesday, March 22, at 11:05 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch window extends for 30 minutes.

Launching atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, the Cygnus, which carries no crew, will steer itself to the station during the course of three days. Astronauts and ground controllers will use the station's robotic arm to grapple Cygnus and connect it to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module. Cygnus will stay connected to the Earth-facing laboratory for about two months before being released to burn up in Earth's atmosphere.

Much of the science will be conducted by astronauts aboard the International Space Station as they continue landmark research above Earth for the benefit of those on the Earth and future astronauts making the journey to Mars. Other science, such as the fire research and reentry data collection, will be conducted at the end of the mission and only after Cygnus drops off its materials and is flying on its own far from the station.

Named the S.S. Rick Husband in tribute to the astronaut who commanded the STS-107 mission which was lost Feb. 1, 2003, this will be the second flight of an enhanced version of Cygnus which first flew in December on a successful return to the flight for the company. Able to carry about 25 percent more volume than its predecessor, the enhanced models also feature more efficient solar arrays and other upgraded systems.

While docked to the station, Cygnus will be unloaded by astronauts who will set up the experiments and stow the fresh supplies. Altogether, the mission's cargo manifest totals more than 3 0.5 tons, including experiments by government and private researchers. Two expeditions - 47 and 48 - will conduct the research in NASA's continuing drive to unlock the secrets of long-duration space exploration.

"It's like Christmas when a supply craft arrives," said Orbital ATK's Dan Tani, a former shuttle and station astronaut who is now senior director of mission cargo and operations. "It's always fun to watch another vehicle approach and then it's like opening a box of goodies and finding some stuff you've been wanting and some surprises you didn't know about."

This Cygnus will carry more to the station than any of the previous five missions, Tani said.

A few of the scientific highlights:

- Gecko Gripper, testing a mechanism similar to the tiny hairs on geckos' feet that lets them stick to surfaces using an adhesive that doesn't wear off,

- Strata-1, designed to evaluate how soil on small, airless bodies such as asteroids behaves in microgravity.

- Meteor, an instrument to evaluate from space the chemical composition of meteors entering Earth's atmosphere. The instrument is being re-flown following its loss on earlier supply missions.

- Saffire, which will set a large fire inside the Cygnus in an unprecedented study to see how large fires behave in space. The research is vital to selecting systems and designing procedures future crews of long-duration missions can use for fighting fires.

- Cygnus is carrying more than two dozen nanosatellites that will be ejected from either the spacecraft or the station at various times during the mission to evaluate a range of technology and science including Earth observations.

The station residents depend on cargo missions from Earth to supply them with daily clothes, food, water and air, along with the equipment they need to work in orbit. For instance, this mission is carrying a spacesuit for the crew and high-pressure cylinders to recharge the station's air supply.

As the Cygnus approaches the end of its time connected to the station, astronauts will pack it with trash, spent experiments and other equipment no longer needed. It will all burn up as the spacecraft blazes through the atmosphere to end the flight with a safe impact in the Pacific Ocean.


Related Links
Orbital ATK
Station at NASA
Station and More at Roscosmos
S.P. Korolev RSC Energia
Watch NASA TV via Space.TV
Space Station News at Space-Travel.Com

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Three new members join crew of International Space Station
Baiknour, Kazakhstan (UPI) Mar 19, 2016
A Russian space craft delivered three new crew members to the International Space Station, bringing its crew size back up to six. NASA video shared on the International Space Station's Twitter page show Russian cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin entering the space station along with astronaut Jeff Williams, a grandfather who became the first three-time, long-term resident of ... read more

Permanent Lunar Colony Possible in 10 Years

China to use data relay satellite to explore dark side of moon

NASA May Return to Moon, But Only After Cutting Off ISS

Lunar love: When science meets artistry

ExoMars probe imaged en route to Mars

How the ExoMars mission could sniff out life on Mars

ExoMars on its way to solve the Red Planet's mysteries

Europe's New Mars Mission Bringing NASA Radios Along

NASA Selects American Small Business, Research Institution Projects for Continued Development

Broomstick flying or red-light ping-pong? Gadgets at German fair

Jacobs Joins Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

Accelerating discovery with new tools for next generation social science

China to establish first commercial rocket launch company

China's ambition after space station

Sky is the limit for China's national strategy

Aim Higher: China Plans to Send Rover to Mars in 2020

Grandpa astronaut to break Scott Kelly's space record

Three new members join crew of International Space Station

Three new crew, including US grandpa, join space station

Space station astronauts ham it up to inspire student scientists

Launch of Dragon Spacecraft to ISS Postponed Until April

ILS and INMARSAT Agree To Future Proton Launch

Soyuz 2-1B Carrier Rocket Launched From Baikonur

ISRO launches PSLV C32, India's sixth navigation satellite

Most eccentric planet ever known flashes astronomers with reflected light

VLA shows earliest stages of planet formation

VLA observes earliest stages of planet formation

NASA's K2 mission: Kepler second chance to shine

International research team achieves controlled movement of skyrmions

Light helps the transistor laser switch faster

INRS takes giant step forward in generating optical qubits

Wrangler Supercomputer speeds through big data

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.