[meteorite-list] NASA Sends Fire, Meteor Experiments to International Space Station on Commercial Cargo Spacecraft

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2016 15:04:33 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201603232204.u2NM4XIJ028953_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

March 23, 2016

RELEASE 16-036

NASA Sends Fire, Meteor Experiments to International Space Station on Commercial Cargo Spacecraft

Scientific investigations of fire in microgravity and grippers inspired by
geckos are among the nearly 7,500 pounds of cargo headed to the International
Space Station aboard an Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft, along with equipment
to support some 250 other experiments and studies aboard the world's only
orbital laboratory.

Orbital ATK's fifth cargo delivery flight under its Commercial Resupply
Services contract with NASA launched at 11:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday on a United
Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral
Air Force Station in Florida. The Cygnus is scheduled to arrive at the
orbiting laboratory Saturday, March 26.

The station's Expeditions 47 and 48 crews will employ these science
payloads to support experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science
and Earth science - research that improves life on Earth -- including:

 * Saffire-I provides a new way to study a large fire on an exploration
   craft, which has not been possible in the past because the risks for
   performing such studies on spacecraft with astronauts aboard are too high.
 * Meteor will enable the first space-based observations of meteors
   entering Earth's atmosphere from space.
 * Strata-I could give us answers about how regolith behaves and moves in
   microgravity, how easy or difficult it is to anchor a spacecraft in
   regolith, how it interacts with spacecraft and spacesuit materials, and
   other important properties.
 * The Gecko Gripper study tests a gecko-inspired adhesive gripping
   device that can stick on command in the harsh environment of space.
 * The Additive Manufacturing Facility will add an upgraded 3-D printing
   capability to the station.

NASA astronaut and Expedition 46 Commander Tim Kopra will capture Cygnus at
about 6:40 a.m. Saturday, March 26, using the space station's Canadarm2
robotic arm to take hold of the spacecraft. Astronaut Tim Peake of ESA
(European Space Agency) will support Kopra in a backup position. NASA TV
coverage of capture will begin at 5:30 a.m.

Saffire-1 will remain on the spacecraft once all the other supplies are
unloaded, and the vehicle will be attached to the space station for about two
months. Once it departs and the spacecraft is a safe distance from the space
station, engineers will remotely conduct the first Saffire experiment before
the Cygnus' destructive reentry into Earth's atmosphere. Before detaching
from the station, Cygnus will also be filled with about 3,000 pounds of
trash, which will be burned up over the Pacific Ocean.

This is the second flight of an enhanced Cygnus spacecraft, and the second
using the Atlas V launch system. The cargo freighter features a greater
payload capacity, supported by new fuel tanks and solar arrays, and an
extended pressurized cargo module that increases the spacecraft's interior
volume by 25 percent, enabling more cargo to be delivered with each launch.

The space station is a convergence of science, technology and human
innovation that demonstrates new technologies and makes research
breakthroughs not possible on Earth. The space station has been continuously
occupied since November 2000. In that time, it has been visited by more than
200 people and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft. The
space station remains the springboard to NASA's next great leap in
exploration, including future missions to an asteroid and Mars.

For more information about Orbital ATK's mission, visit:


For more information about the International Space Station, visit:


Received on Wed 23 Mar 2016 06:04:33 PM PDT

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