Orbital ATK successfully launched the S.S. John Glenn spacecraft (OA-7 Cygnus) into orbit today on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.
“Once launched into low-Earth orbit, Cygnus will use its advanced maneuvering capability to transport its cargo from a low-parking orbit to the space station, where it will be grappled by the crew using the station’s robotic arm and then berthed to the orbiting laboratory. Among the cargo that will be delivered are four powered mid-deck lockers that carry critical science research experiments for the crew. Resembling freezers, these lockers receive power from Cygnus in order to maintain a constant internal temperature after they are loaded into the pressurized cargo module.
After the cargo is removed and disposal items are loaded, Cygnus will depart from the station in mid-June and conduct three secondary payload missions. Cygnus will carry the Spacecraft Fire Experiment-III (Saffire-III) marking the third time that the spacecraft has been used for these investigations as a unique environment to study) fires in microgravity….In addition, a NanoRacks deployer will release four cubesats used for weather monitoring and global ship tracking. The final experiment will use three Reentry Data Collection Flight Recorders to provide crucial data about the extreme conditions a spacecraft encounters when reentering the Earth’s atmosphere. This specific experiment will also test the performance of different heat shield materials that may be used on future U.S. space missions.” -Orbital ATK