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NASA resupply mission prepares for Saturday launch to house station

NASA and Northrop Grumman are set to launch a Cygnus cargo capsule chock-full of analysis and provides to the Worldwide Area Station (ISS) on Saturday, Feb. 20.

The flight will blast off from Pad 09A at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia throughout a deliberate five-minute window that opens at 12:36 p.m. EST (1736 GMT).

A two-stage Antares rocket, standing 139 ft (42.5 meters) tall, will haul the Cygnus spacecraft into orbit, kicking off a two-day voyage to the ISS. As soon as it arrives on the house station, Cygnus will berth to the orbital outpost with the assistance of the station’s robotic arm.

Associated: See superb launch images of Antares and Cygnus NG-13!

Each the Cygnus spacecraft and the Antares rocket are constructed by Northrop Grumman, which is one in all two corporations which might be at the moment delivering cargo to the ISS for NASA. (SpaceX is the opposite.) The duo rolled out to the launch pad on Feb. 17 forward of Saturday’s deliberate launch.

The mission, designated NG-15, is the 14th operational resupply launch for the house station by Northrop Grumman and its predecessors, Orbital Sciences and Orbital ATK, as a part of its business resupply providers contract with NASA.

Northrop Grumman is continuous its custom of naming the Cygnus spacecraft after a person who made key contributions to human spaceflight. On this case, the silvery spacecraft is called the S.S. Katherine Johnson, after the late mathematician whose calculations made it potential for John Glen to orbit the Earth 59 years in the past.

Cargo ships carry important provides and meals for the astronauts on the house station, but additionally a great deal of analysis investigations. On this mission, Cygnus will ship roughly 8,200 lbs. (3,700 kilograms) of science experiments, provides and {hardware} for the house station’s Expedition 64 crew.

The spacecraft will even carry 30 cubesats as a part of a scholar outreach program for Virginia’s Industrial Area Flight Authority that it’s going to deploy shortly after launching.

Usually cargo vessels stay connected to the station for a month or two, permitting the crew to refill them both with cargo to return to Earth or, as for Cygnus, with trash to fritter away when the spacecraft re-enters the environment.

Tucked contained in the cargo car will probably be a variety of analysis investigations, together with a examine that may take a look at muscle energy in worms, one that may take a look at printing protein-based synthetic retinas in house, one other that may check a new house laptop, and plenty of extra.

Japanese astronaut and Expedition 64 crewmember, Soichi Noguchi, will use the station’s robotic arm to grapple the Cygnus, with an help from NASA crewmate Mike Hopkins. Mission Management in Houston will then oversee the spacecraft’s set up on the station’s Unity module Earth-facing port.

Cygnus will stay connected to the station for roughly two months earlier than performing a damaging re-entry into the Earth’s environment.

Comply with Amy Thompson on Twitter @astrogingersnap. Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Fb.

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