Yesterday, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft docked with the International Space Station (ISS) as part of Northrop Grumman’s 12th commercial resupply services (CRS) mission. Cygnus carried with it more than 8,000 pounds of research and supplies, including more than 20 payloads sponsored by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory—the largest number of ISS National Lab-sponsored payloads on a Northrop Grumman resupply mission to date.
Below highlights some of the ISS National Lab-sponsored investigations included on this mission.
- Lockheed Martin Corporation, in collaboration with StemRad, will test the performance of the AstroRad radiation shielding vest on ISS crew members. Insights gained from this project could aid in the development of radiation shielding technologies for people on Earth, such as patients receiving radiation treatments and workers in areas where there is a risk of radiation exposure.
- A project from the Houston Methodist Research Institute, in collaboration with Automobili Lamborghini, seeks to use the harsh space environment to test the performance of proprietary carbon fiber materials, including 3D-printed carbon fiber composites, developed by Lamborghini for aerospace applications. Successful validation of 3D-printed carbon fiber composites could significantly impact carbon fiber manufacturing, replacing lengthy and expensive traditional manufacturing methods.
- A rodent research investigation from Baylor College of Medicine aims to study microgravity as a disrupter of the circatidal clock, the 12-hour oscillation of genes involved in metabolism. Results from this experiment could shed light on the role of regulatory genes in metabolic disorders such as liver disease, diabetes, and other illnesses associated with obesity and help lead to new treatments.
- Made In Space will demonstrate the plastic recycling capabilities of its Commercial Polymer Recycling System to process plastic waste into a uniform feedstock for use in additive manufacturing. This new system will augment Made In Space’s commercial Additive Manufacturing Facility on the ISS and create a “regenerative materials” cycle that turns used broken parts and excess packaging into new parts.
- NanoRacks will test the Zero-G Oven on the ISS to explore new methods of food production in space. This project will examine how to heat and then cool the space oven in a manner that is safe for crew members.
To learn more about ISS National Lab-sponsored investigations that launched on this mission, visit our Northrop Grumman CRS-12 launch page.
Yesterday also marks an important milestone in NASA's Commercial Crew Program with Boeing's successfully completion of a Pad Abort Test for its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. This test, a critical safety test for the spacecraft's abort system, successfully demonstrated that Starliner's systems would work together properly to carry astronauts away from the launch pad in the unlikely event of an emergency before liftoff. For more information on NASA's Commercial Crew Program, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew.