Northrop Grumman's Antares rocket sends Cygnus cargo ship to the space station




  • In Science
  • 2019-04-17 21:32:46Z
  • By Alan Boyle
 

Almost four tons of supplies, hardware and science payloads are heading to the International Space Station after today's launch of a robotic Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo ship.

The spacecraft, dubbed the SS Roger Chaffee in honor of one of the astronauts killed in the 1967 Apollo 1 launch-pad fire, was sent into orbit from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast at 4:46 p.m. ET (1:46 p.m. PT) atop Northrop Grumman's Antares rocket. The afternoon launch could be seen from a wide area of the East Coast's mid-Atlantic region.

Cygnus' 7,600-pound shipment includes experiments aimed at manufacturing high-quality optical fiber in zero-gravity, as well as nanoparticles that could someday be used for drug delivery. A host of nanosatellites are on board and due for deployment either from the space station or from the cylindrical Cygnus craft itself.

Another piece of hardware aboard the Cygnus, known as the Robotic External Leak Locator or RELL, will serve as a mechanical "sniffer" to detect external ammonia leaks from the station's cooling system.

This is the 11th Cygnus mission flown under the terms of a cargo resupply contract with NASA, but the first to make use of a procedure for loading last-minute cargo. Among the late payloads was a troop of mice that will be used in a study of their immune response to a tetanus vaccine under zero-G conditions.

Astronauts will use the station's Canadian-built robotic arm to haul in the Cygnus for its berthing early Friday. It'll spend a couple of months hooked up to the station, and will then be set loose for a first-of-its-kind, free-flying orbital mission that could last into the fall. At the end of its mission, the robotic craft will descend to a fiery end during atmospheric re-entry.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Europe space agency to join new race to the moon
Europe space agency to join new race to the moon

Europe is to launch a spacecraft to the Moon as it seeks to become a contender in the new space race that has taken off 50 years after the historic US lunar mission.  The Paris-based European Space Agency (ESA) is to land a a robotic rover on the lunar surface rather than astronauts, but says it will eventually send manned missions. After Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon, the initial craze for lunar exploration waned. Enthusiasm has been boosted again by cheaper technology and the increasing involvement of private companies such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, which are planning to send tourists into orbit within a few years.  ESA is working with the Canadian and...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Science

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.