вторник, 26 февраля 2019 г.

U.S. Cargo Ship Completes Mission and Deployment of Several Satellites after Departure...

Northrope Grumman – Cygnus NG-10 Mission patch.

Feb. 25, 2019

Following completion of its primary mission to deliver more than 7,400 pounds of science and supplies to the International Space Station, a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft then spent more than two weeks on a new commercial mission to deploy several small satellites into multiple orbits.

This is a first-of-its-kind use of a space station commercial resupply spacecraft beyond the primary mission and demonstrates continued commercialization of low-Earth orbit enabled by the microgravity outpost.

After Cygnus, named the SS John Young, departed the orbital laboratory Feb. 8, its thrusters fired to move the spacecraft a safe distance from the station before Northrop Grumman flight controllers in Dulles, Virginia, took over to adjust the vehicle to a higher altitude where the Slingshot CubeSat Deployer deployed two CubeSats and hosted an additional payload. The NanoRacks External Cygnus Deployer then released two more CubeSats.

Cygnus NG-10

Cygnus then moved to a lower orbit to deploy a third CubeSat via the NanoRacks deployer, carrying 100 tiny satellites called femtosatellites. These satellites are even smaller than the already-small 3-Unit CubeSat, with each including a power, sensor, and communication system on a printed circuit board that measures 3.5 by 3.5 cm at a thickness of a few millimeters and a mass of less than three and a half ounces. They are part of the KickSat-2 mission to demonstrate the capabilities of even smaller, more cost-effective satellites.

Having completed this bonus commercial mission, Cygnus re-entered Earth’s atmosphere on Feb. 25 and burned up harmlessly over the Pacific Ocean.

The primary focus of this Commercial Resupply Services contract mission was to deliver dozens of new and existing investigations to contribute to some of the hundreds of science and research studies the Expedition 58 crew will facilitate during their time in space. Highlights from the new experiments include a demonstration of 3D printing and recycling technology and simulating the creation of celestial bodies from stardust.

The Refabricator is the first 3D printer and recycler integrated into one user-friendly machine. Once installed in the space station, it will demonstrate recycling of waste plastic and previously 3D printed parts already on-board into high-quality filament, or 3D printer “ink.” This recycled filament will be fed into the printer as stock to make new tools and parts on-demand in space. This technology could enable closed-loop, sustainable fabrication, repair and recycling on long-duration space missions, and greatly reduce the need to continually launch large supplies of new material and parts for repairs and maintenance. The demonstration, which NASA’s Space Technology Mission and Human Exploration and Operations Directorates co-sponsored, is considered a key enabling technology for in-space manufacturing. NASA awarded a Small Business Innovation Research contract valued to Tethers Unlimited Inc. to build the recycling system.

The Experimental Chondrule Formation at the International Space Station (EXCISS) investigation will explore how planets, moons and other objects in space formed by simulating the high-energy, low-gravity conditions that were present during formation of the early solar system. Scientists plan to zap a specially formulated dust with an electrical current, and then study the shape and texture of the resulting pellets.

The Crystallization of LRRK2 Under Microgravity Conditions-2 (PCG-16) investigation grows large crystals of an important protein, leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2), in microgravity for analysis back on Earth. This protein is implicated in development of Parkinson’s disease, and improving our knowledge of its structure may help scientists better understand the pathology of the disease and develop therapies to treat it. LRRK2 crystals grown in gravity are too small and too compact to study, making microgravity an essential part of this research.  This investigation is sponsored by the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, which Congress designated in 2005 to maximize its use for improving quality of life on Earth.

NG CRS-10- SS John Young Cygnus departure

This was the seventh flight of an enhanced Cygnus spacecraft, and the fourth using Northrop Grumman’s upgraded Antares 230 launch vehicle featuring new RD-181 engines that provide increased performance and flexibility.

The spacecraft for this mission was named in honor of astronaut John Young. Young was selected for NASA’s second astronaut class and flew during the Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle programs. He walked on the Moon during Apollo 16 in 1972 and commanded the first space shuttle mission in 1981. Young died in January 2018.

Cygnus launched Nov. 17, 2018, on an Antares 230 rocket from Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops, and arrived at the station Nov. 19 for the company’s 10th NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission to the station. Ground controllers used the space station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach Cygnus at 11:16 a.m. EST on Friday, Feb. 8 from the Earth-facing side of the station’s Unity module and maneuver the spacecraft into its release position. Expedition 58 Flight Engineers Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency sent the command to release the spacecraft.

Related links:

Northrop Grumman Cygnus: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/launch/northrop-grumman.html

KickSat-2: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2374.html

Refabricator: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html

Small Business Innovation Research: http://sbir.nasa.gov/

EXCISS: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html

PCG-16: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html

International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory: https://www.iss-casis.org/

Expedition 58: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition58/index.html

Commercial Resupply: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/launch/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Image, Video, Text, Credits: NASA/Gary Jordan/NASA Tv/SciNews.

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