Cygnus spacecraft to deliver NASA cargo to ISS

Cygnus spacecraft to deliver NASA cargo to ISS

Orbital ATK has confirmed that it is targeting 19th of March for the launch of its seventh cargo mission, dubbed OA-7, to the International Space Station (ISS).

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the Cygnus cargo spacecraft is scheduled to blast off from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during a thirty-minute launch window starting at 10:56 p. m. EDT on that date.

Along with more than 7,500 lbs. (3,400 kilograms) of cargo and supplies for the astronauts aboard the space station, Cygnus will carry several science experiments, including dozens of cubesats, a new habitat for growing plants and targeted cancer therapies.

In August, an ice chest-sized box will be sent to the ISS, where it will form the coolest spot in the universe. Developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the box is called the Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL). It is designed to freeze gas atoms to a billionth of a degree above absolute zero.

CAL Project Scientist Robert Thompson said, "Studying these hyper-cold atoms could reshape our understanding of matter and the fundamental nature of gravity. The experiments we'll do with the Cold Atom Lab will give us insight into gravity and dark energy-some of the most pervasive forces in the universe."

The March 19th mission will deliver several science experiments along with other supplies. One of the experiments will test how new cancer-fighting drugs work in microgravity. Another experiment will make use of magnets to study cell cultures as they grow into three-dimensional shapes in microgravity.


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