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Tomorrow (April 17), Northrop Grumman's Antares rocket will launch its Cygnus spacecraft to the space station, carrying supplies as well as a set of strange and innovative experiments that could support future missions to space.
Among them will be two different tiny robots that will practice helping astronauts with space station maintenance; a study that will assess the artery health of astronauts using wearable tech; and a test for a new method for removing carbon dioxide from the air on board the space station, according to a statement from NASA.
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At 4:46 p.m. EDT (2046 GMT) on Wednesday, April 17, Cygnus NG-11 is set to launch on an Antares rocket from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island in Virginia. The cargo resupply mission will send up scientific experiments along with supplies for the crew on board the space station. This will be the 11th (and final) Cygnus mission within Northrop Grumman's Commercial Resupply Services CRS-1 contract with NASA — a new contract, CRS-2, is set to begin in the fall. You can watch the launch online here at Space.com, courtesy of NASA.
Related: Private Antares Rocket & Cygnus Spacecraft Explained (Infographic)
Cygnus - Spacecraft - Capability - Experiments - Hours
Cygnus spacecraft recently added the capability to load certain experiments just 24 hours before launch. Previously, all cargo and scientific experiments had to be loaded into the craft four days before the launch, but this change will allow time-sensitive experiments to be loaded closer to the launch time.
One of the experiments, called Vascular Aging, will explore data that suggests that certain aspects of aging, related to the system that circulates blood through the body, could be accelerated by time spent in space. Artery aging has been linked to cardiovascular health, insulin resistance and more. In this experiment, the space station...
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