NG-16 Cygnus to launch supplies to International Space Station
Northrop Grumman and NASA are set to fly the 16th contracted Cygnus commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station.
The NG-16 Cygnus spacecraft is set for liftoff atop an Antares 230+ rocket at 5:56 p.m. EDT (21:56 UTC) Aug. 10, 2021, from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Named the SS Ellison Onizuka in recognition of the first Asian-American astronaut, this is the 16th Northrop Grumman commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station and is set to deliver some 8,200 pounds (3,700 kilograms) of crew supplies, equipment, research and vehicle hardware to the orbiting outpost and the seven-person Expedition 65 crew.
This is the fifth Northrop Grumman mission under NASA’s second Commercial Resupply mission contract, also known as CRS2.
Inside the NG-16 Cygnus spacecraft are a multitude of experiments, including studies over engineered muscle tissue, slime molds and a 3D printing demonstration using simulated regolith.
There is also a Four Bed CO2 Scrubber demonstration that NASA says is based on the existing ISS system, but incorporates lessons learned over the last 20 years.
“Four Bed CO2 Scrubber is a great example of how valuable the space station has been for learning how to build and operate systems for space exploration,” said co-investigator Michael Salopek of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in an agency news release. “Building robust and reliable systems would be much more challenging without this low-Earth orbit test bed.”
NASA is also sending up the Flow Boiling and Condensation Experiment, which the agency says aims to conduct a variety of experiments to better understand flow boiling and condensation in microgravity conditions. The goal is to learn how to build better thermal management systems as longer space missions will need to generate more power, thus produce more heat.
In addition to the space science bound for the International Space Station, there is also hardware including ISS Power Augmentation Mod Kit, which will allow the space station program to continue deploying the upgraded solar arrays.
There is also an Airlock Stowage Platform that is designed to increase the stowage capacity to help manage on-orbit cargo that needs to be kept and maintained.
In addition to these, there is hardware being sent to the outpost to build a second set of emergency air supply for commercial crew vehicles, which NASA says can assist up to five crew members for up to one hour in case of an emergency ammonia leak.
Other hardware being orbited includes air tanks, waste management system installation and spare hardware and upgraded acrylic scratch panes for the Cupola window to provide better optics and visibility when in use by the crew.
Following launch, the NG-16 Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station on the morning of Aug. 12 where it will maneuver itself some 30 feet (about 10 meters) below the outpost’s Destiny module. From there, NASA astronaut and Expedition 65 Flight Engineer Megan McArthur (with European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet as her backup) is set to use the robotic Canadarm2 remote manipulator system to capture the cargo spacecraft at around 5 a.m. EDT (10:00 UTC).
Over the next several hours, ground-based teams are then expected to remotely command Canadarm2 to berth Cygnus at the Earth-facing port of the Unity module where it is scheduled to remain for about three months.
Video courtesy of NASA
Theresa Cross grew up on the Space Coast. It’s only natural that she would develop a passion for anything “Space” and its exploration. During these formative years, she also discovered that she possessed a talent and love for defining the unique quirks and intricacies that exist in mankind, nature, and machines. Hailing from a family of photographers—including her father and her son, Theresa herself started documenting her world through pictures at a very early age. As an adult, she now exhibits an innate photographic ability to combine what appeals to her heart and her love of technology to deliver a diversified approach to her work and artistic presentations. Theresa has a background in water chemistry, fluid dynamics, and industrial utility.