NASA Will Study How Fires Work In Space By Torching A Spaceship

NASA Will Study How Fires Work In Space By Torching A Spaceship”

Tuesday's launch of supplies from Cape Canaveral is a part of NASA's commercial cargo program, a partnership with private companies to supply the station. The OA-7 mission represents the first execution of a RapidLaunch™ service contract, with contractual agreements being finalized 5 months ago. It will launch atop Orbital ATK's Antares 230 rocket.

Orbital ATK and NASA are waiting until Saturday for arrival at ISS because a new crew is launching to and docking with the ISS on Thursday, April 20, and they want to wait until that is completed before bringing Cygnus in. The Antares was grounded for two years after that while the vehicle's engines were replaced; the Atlas V served as a stopgap in the meantime so that Orbital could continue to resupply the station as part of its contractual obligations to NASA.

By switching to the Atlas, Orbital was able to add about 660 extra pounds to the Cygnus capsule, according to Frank Culbertson, a former astronaut and president of the space subsystems group for Orbital ATK. It should reach the ISS in about four days.

The next Cygnus flight, OA-8E, is planned for October 2017.

One experiment on board is a sophisticated new greenhouse that will be evaluated as a way to grow food for astronauts during long-duration stays in space.

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The capsule also carries 38 shoebox-sized satellites and a high school student's science project that will test how telomeres, which are structures at the ends of chromosomes, are affected by microgravity.

It's launch day for a United Launch Alliance mission named after John Glenn, an astronaut and former US senator who once rode into space on a predecessor of the rocket that launches today. It's the largest cargo load every carried by a Cygnus module.

The Cygnus spacecraft, named after former US astronaut John Glenn, took off atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket at 11:11 a.m. EDT (1511 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Florida skies, which were blue with puffs of clouds, presented no problems for the launch, which had an estimated 90 percent chance of acceptable conditions.

Tuesday's launch marked the first time NASA, in coordination with the ULA and Orbital ATK, has broadcast a rocket launch with a 360-degree view, which should "virtually place the public at the base of the rocket during launch".

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