The International Space Station is already in dire need of new assets to support scientific activity on board. The habitable artificial satellite is the first of its kind and floats in the low orbit of Earth. Essentially, it is a large space laboratory where professionals discover new aspects of human biology, astronomy, physics, meteorology, and other domains. NASA has successfully launched yet another cargo capsule with vital products as well as tools and experiments. However, this time the operation commemorated the late John Glenn.
The Cargo Capsule Received the Name of the Late Astronaut
For yesterday’s launch, NASA used the help of the spaceflight company Orbital ATK. An Atlas V rocket propeled Cygnus cargo capsule into the lower orbit of Earth. The location of the launch was Cape Canaveral in Florida. This is the third time Orbital employs the flagship rocket of the United Launch Alliance. However, the company has its own rocket concept named Antares. Nonetheless, its product is not ready for an official mission. As it is under a NASA contractual obligation, Cygnus appealed to Atlas V as a temporary interim.
However, yesterday’s launch bears a particular meaning. The Cygnus cargo capsule was named after a late astronaut who received the nickname of “the first American to orbit the Earth.” This is about John Glenn who succumbed to death on December 2016. This event is part of a tradition that originated with Orbital ATK. The company has long come up with the idea of naming their capsules after late astronauts. Moreover, the spacecraft will orbit the Earth with the portrait of John Glenn aboard.
The Cargo Bares New Experimental Drug, Plant, Habitat, Small Space Probes, and Others
The new cargo is special like any others of its kind. Besides some overdue Easter gifts, the ISS crew is going to receive some interesting science experiments. For instance, there is a new antibody drug that can enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy for people with cancer. The ISS scientists have to test it in zero gravity conditions and record the results. On top of that, they will have the opportunity to test a new prototype for a plant habitat. This time, it will be a more self-sufficient concept which doesn’t need much help from astronauts.
The latest cargo capsule was launched on April 18 at 11.00 a.m. EDT. It carries around 7,600 pounds of supplies. Among the massive content, there are also 38 satellites known as CubeSats. These are prospecting space probes of extremely small dimensions. They are convenient for small-scale research operations in space. The commercial resupply will reach the ISS in a few days’ time.
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