Nava spațială Northrop Grumman Cygnus lansează NASA Science, Cargo către Stația Spațială Internațională

Lansarea unei rachete Antares de la instalația de zbor Wallops a NASA. Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA

O aprovizionare proaspătă de 8.300 de lire de investigații științifice și încărcătură lansată din[{” attribute=””>NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia at 12:40 p.m. EST on Saturday, February 19, aboard a Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft, and is now traveling to the International Space Station.

The Cygnus spacecraft, which was launched on an Antares rocket, is scheduled to arrive at the space station around 4:35 a.m. on Monday, February 21. NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website will provide live coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival beginning at 3 a.m.

Northrop Grumman Antares Rocket Liftoff NASA Wallops Flight Facility

Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket liftoff from pad 0A at 12:40 p.m. EST from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, on February 19, 2022. The Cygnus spacecraft, carrying 8,300 pounds of science investigations and cargo, is scheduled to arrive at the space station on Monday, February 21. Credit: NASA Wallops/Allison Stancil

NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Kayla Barron will capture Cygnus with the station’s robotic Canadarm2 upon its arrival. The spacecraft will then be installed on the Earth-facing port of the station’s Unity module.

Aceasta este cea de-a 17-a misiune de reaprovizionare contractată de Northrop Grumman în cadrul celui de-al doilea contract de servicii de reaprovizionare comercială cu NASA. Livrarea include materiale critice pentru a sprijini zeci dintre cele peste 250 de investigații științifice și de cercetare care au loc în timpul misiunii NASA Expedition 66 la bordul stației spațiale.

Investigațiile științifice pe care le desfășoară Cygnus includ:

Ne protejăm pielea

Deteriorarea țesutului pielii, o parte normală a îmbătrânirii, are loc de-a lungul deceniilor. Microgravitația duce la schimbări în organism, cum ar fi îmbătrânirea, dar care apar mult mai repede, astfel încât acestea pot fi studiate mai ușor. Colgate Skin Aging va evalua modificările celulare și moleculare în celulele pielii umane modificate în microgravitație. Rezultatele pot ajuta la accelerarea dezvoltării produselor destinate să protejeze pielea de procesul de îmbătrânire de pe Pământ.

Îmbătrânirea pielii Colgate

Pregătirea plăcilor de cultură de țesut pentru Colgate Skin Aging, care evaluează modificările celulelor pielii în microgravitație și ar putea ajuta la furnizarea unui model pentru evaluarea produselor pentru protejarea pielii de efectele îmbătrânirii. Credit: Colgate-Palmolive

Testarea medicamentelor pentru tumori

MicroQuin 3D Tumor va examina efectele unui medicament asupra celulelor canceroase de sân și prostată. Aceste celule pot crește într-un model 3D mai natural în microgravitație, ceea ce face mai ușor de caracterizat structura, expresia genelor, semnalizarea celulelor și răspunsul la tratament. Rezultatele ar putea oferi o nouă perspectivă asupra proteinei celulare vizate de medicament și ar putea ajuta la dezvoltarea altor medicamente pentru cancer.

Celulele canceroase de sân tratate cu MicroQuin Therapeutic

Această imagine arată imunofluorescența celulelor canceroase de sân tratate cu un medicament MicroQuin. Colorația arată un nucleu normal (albastru) și cel terapeutic (verde) localizat în reticulul endoplasmatic al celulei (roșu). Medicamentul forțează citoscheletul (galben) să se prăbușească, inducând moartea celulelor. Credit: Scott Robinson, MicroQuin

Îmbunătățirea senzorilor de hidrogen

Demonstrația de tehnologie avansată a senzorilor de hidrogen va testa noi senzori pentru sistemul de generare de oxigen al stației spațiale. Senzorii de curent asigură că niciunul din hidrogen nu intră oxigenul în cabină, dar poate fi sensibil la umiditate, azot și alte probleme care necesită schimbarea lor la fiecare 201 de zile. Această tehnologie ar putea oferi senzori mai durabili pentru situațiile în care înlocuirea rapidă nu este practică, reducând numărul de piese de schimb necesare în misiunile spațiale mai lungi, cum ar fi pe Lună sau[{” attribute=””>Mars.

OGA H2 Sensor Demo

Hardware for the OGA H2 Sensor Demo shown in preparation for flight. This technology demonstration tests new sensors for detecting hydrogen in oxygen generating systems on spacecraft. Credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

Better batteries

Space Demonstration for All Solid-State Li Ion Battery (Space As-Lib), an investigation from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will feature the operation of a lithium-ion secondary battery capable of safe, stable operation under extreme temperatures and in a vacuum environment. The battery uses solid, inorganic, and flame-retardant materials that do not leak, making it safer and more reliable. Results could demonstrate the battery’s performance for various potential uses in space and other planetary environments. Solid-state batteries also have potential applications in harsh environments and the automotive and aerospace industries.

Space As-Lib Hardware

The Space As-Lib hardware is shown undergoing thermal vacuum testing prior to launch. Credit: JAXA

Plants in space

Current systems for growing plants in space use soil or a growth medium. These systems are small and do not scale well in a space environment due to mass, containment, maintenance, and sanitation issues. To address these issues, eXposed Root On-Orbit Test System (XROOTS) will use water- and air-based methods instead, reducing overall system mass. Results could provide insight into the development of larger-scale systems to grow food crops for future space exploration and habitats. Components of the system could also enhance plant cultivation in greenhouses on Earth and contribute to better food security.

XROOTS Study

Green onion plants grown using aeroponics are held to display their roots. The XROOTS study tests hydroponic (water-based) and aeroponic (air-based) techniques to grow plants in space. Credit: Sierra Space

Improving fire safety

Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinction (SoFIE) will enable studies of the flammability of materials and ignition of fires in realistic atmospheric conditions. This facility uses the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR), which allows for testing at different oxygen concentrations and pressures that represent current and planned space exploration missions. Gravity influences flames on Earth, but in microgravity, fire acts differently and can behave in unexpected ways aboard the space station. Some evidence suggests that fires may be more hazardous in reduced gravity. Results could help ensure crew safety by improving design of extravehicular activity suits, and cabin materials, improve our ability to determine the best techniques for suppressing fires in space.

Findings from these and other investigations aboard the space station will contribute to keeping astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration missions as part of NASA’s Moon and Mars efforts, including lunar missions through the agency’s Artemis program.

Cygnus will also deliver critical hardware to be installed during the upcoming ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (IROSA) spacewalks, as well as other components for the successful functioning of astronaut life on the space station, such as a trash deployer and acoustic covers for the waste management system.

This Cygnus mission is the first to feature enhanced capabilities that will allow the spacecraft to perform a reboost, using its engines to adjust the space station’s orbit as a standard service for NASA. The agency has one reboost is planned while Cygnus is connected to the orbiting laboratory. A test of the maneuver was performed in 2018 during Cygnus’ ninth resupply mission.

Cygnus will remain at the space station until May before it deploys CubeSats, then disposes of several thousand pounds of trash during its re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, which will result in its destruction.

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