More than 7,700 pounds of NASA-owned cargo launched Tuesday evening from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida toward the International Space Station aboard an Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft carried by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, NASA announced in a media statement.
The flight marks the fifth cargo delivery Orbital ATK has conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services Contract it has with NASA. When the spacecraft arrives at the ISS—NASA expects this to occur Saturday at about 6:40 a.m. EDT—it will drop off supplies to be used for a variety of experiments pertaining to biotechnology, biology, Earth Science, physical science, and other tests. Some of the more notable scientific payloads include:
Meteor: An investigation that will allow for the first space-based examinations of meteors heading toward Earth’s atmosphere, including the chemical makeup of meteors.
The Gecko Gripper: A test of the gecko-inspired gripping device, which is designed to stick objects together in space when needed. The device is designed to not lose its adhesiveness after repeated use.
The Additive Manufacturing Facility: A station for the 3D printing of parts and tools to be used on the ISS.
Saffire-I: An investigation into what an inadvertently started fire would do on a spacecraft operating in space.
Strata-I: An investigation of how regolith functions in microgravity. Ideally, these findings would improve future space exploration.
Cygnus will eventually be filled with approximately 3,000 pounds of trash, all of which will be incinerated when Cygnus is destroyed by its reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.
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