The International Space Station will be capable of dozens of new scientific investigations from NASA and around the world when Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft delivers more than 7,600 pounds of cargo on April 22.
Orbital ATK’s seventh cargo delivery flight to the station was launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Expedition 51 astronauts Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Peggy Whitson of NASA will use the space station’s robotic arm to grapple Cygnus.
The spacecraft will remain at the space station until July before its destructive reentry into Earth’s atmosphere, disposing of several thousand pounds of trash.
This is the fourth flight of an enhanced Cygnus spacecraft, and the third using the Atlas V launch system. The spacecraft for this mission is named in honor of John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth. Glenn, who died in December at age 95, was one of NASA’s original seven astronauts and a retired U.S. Senator from Ohio.
The mission, which is under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract, will support dozens of new and existing investigations as Expeditions 51 and 52 contribute to approximately 250 science and research studies.
Highlights from the new experiments will include studies on cancer-fighting drugs, crystal growth and atmospheric reentry.
A global endeavor, more than 200 people from 18 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 1,900 research investigations from researchers in more than 95 countries.