Orbital ATK to launch its seventh ISS resupply mission on March 19


Orbital ATK is all set to launch its seventh commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on March 19.

The resupply mission will be launching from the Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida at approximately 10:56 p.m. EDT on March 19. Orbital ATK will be using its Cygnus spacecraft for the resupply, which will lift off on a Atlas V rocket during a 30-minute window that opens at approximately 10:56 p.m. EDT.

According to NASA the resupply mission will be bringing supplies and vehicle hardware to the ISS to support the Expedition 50 and 51 crews members.

Investigations scheduled on this launch include an Advanced Plant Habitat, which will integrate new technology to increase overall efficiency, reliability, and robustness of plants grown on station. This experiment will build on the success of NASA’s Veggie, the first fresh food growth system on station, and will provide ongoing research for the development of food production systems for long-duration exploration missions.

Manipulating cell cultures in space is challenging as the cells can spontaneously grow in 3-D. Another new investigation bound for the U.S. National Laboratory will look at using magnetized cells and tools to make it easier to handle cells and cultures, and improve the reproducibility of experiments.

The Slosh Coating experiment will investigate a special type of coating that can repel liquids when applied to container walls. If effective, the liquid repellent could be used to design more efficient storage tanks for propellant and other fluids used in space exploration.

There also will be a number of CubeSats onboard Cygnus that will be deployed from the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployment on the space station, including a NASA science payload known as IceCube, which will provide data to scientists’ understanding of ice clouds and their role in climate change.