Antares rocket built by Northrop Grumman lifted off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore carrying the Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft to the International Space Station.
Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft
The spacecraft has successfully separated from the rocket and was flying on its way to the space station. Key facts about the Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft:
- The Spacecraft carried about 7,600 pounds of supplies and scientific experiments to the station.
- Few of the instruments will be used to examine astronaut’s health in microgravity. The instrument will perform on-orbit detection and quantification of cell surface molecules on a per cell and assess soluble molecule concentration in a liquid sample such as blood, saliva, or urine, thus sparing sample freezing and storing.
- The experiments will also scrutinise ageing-like changes in many astronauts on the space station, including changes to their arteries, and examine effects of spaceflight on the function of antibody production and immune memory.
A NASA study has stated that long-duration spaceflight may change astronauts’ gene expression and pose other health risks. Hence it is necessary to take actions to prevent any damage to astronauts in a planned three-year space journey to Mars in 2030s.