WALLOPS ISLAND FLIGHT FACILITY (VA), November 8, 2018 – Northrop Grumman is targeting its 10th commercial resupply mission (awarded by NASA) to the International Space Station (ISS) for no earlier than 4:49 a.m. EST on November 15th from Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia. As part of this mission, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus vehicle will ferry more than 400 kilograms of research and hardware facilities to the orbiting laboratory under the ISS National Laboratory flight allocation. There are presently 12 payloads included on this mission that are sponsored by the ISS National Lab. The research investigations that are part of the ISS National Lab flight manifest represent a diverse group of payloads intended to benefit life on Earth.
Many of the research investigations on this mission are in the area of life sciences, including an experiment from The Michael J. Fox Foundation seeking to optimize crystallization of the LRRK2 protein, which is closely associated with the development of Parkinson’s disease, toward improved structure characterization and development of an inhibitor drug. Regenerative medicine is a priority research area for the ISS National Lab, and multiple tissue engineering payloads will be included in the flight manifests of the next series of resupply launches to the orbiting laboratory. On this flight, Micro-gRx will launch a lab-on-a-chip (a fully automated, multifunctional cell culture platform) investigation looking at skeletal muscle cells. The project will provide a model for microgravity-induced muscle atrophy, facilitating higher-accuracy musculoskeletal disease modeling and therapeutic testing, which could lead to significant cost savings in clinical trials.
An investigation from Cemsica, a small startup, seeks to improve the design and manufacture of cost-effective membranes for use in fossil-fuel power plants and gas separation technologies, toward reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Made In Space is continuing to develop in-orbit manufacturing capabilities, with a project focused on the production of ZBLAN fibers onboard the space station. ZBLAN production in microgravity has been shown to reduce imperfections in the fibers, which have important Earth-based applications in telecommunications and medical devices such as laser scalpels.
This mission also includes an array of CubeSats (small cube-shaped satellites) that will deploy from the space station through commercial service provider NanoRacks. CubeSats on this mission include a project seeking to validate a 3.5-centimeter square circuit board called “ChipSat” as well as projects aimed at evaluating how microgravity impacts battery life and Earth observation imaging technology. Additionally, multiple student investigations are included on this mission, with one project in partnership with Go For Launch! and Space Tango looking at self-healing composites (materials that automatically self-repair when damaged), while another student investigation seeks to evaluate the formation of chrondrules by electrical discharges in microgravity. Chrondrules are one of the main components associated with meteors.
To learn more about these investigations and all ISS National Lab investigations and hardware partners involved in this mission, see the mission overview.
To learn more about the capabilities of the ISS National Lab, including past research initiatives and available facilities, visit www.iss-casis.org.
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About the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory:
In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the ISS as the nation’s newest national laboratory to maximize its use for improving quality of life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, and advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. This unique laboratory environment is now available for use by non-NASA U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector, providing these customers access to a permanent microgravity setting, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied environments of space. The ISS National Lab is managed by the Center for the Advancement for Science in Space, under agreement with NASA.
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