KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (ISS National Laboratory PR) – When Northrop Grumman’s 13th commercial resupply services (CRS) mission launches to the International Space Station (ISS), it will carry with it a multitude of research to benefit life on Earth.
Among the ISS U.S. National Laboratory-sponsored payloads on this mission are two investigations from leading academic institutions. Although both projects fall within the area of life sciences, the two are studying very different things—one is seeking solutions to a common health ailment and the other aims to improve bioproduction of a commercially important industrial chemical.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), January 30, 2020 (ISS National Lab) – Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft will be packed with a wide variety of research investigations for its 13th commercial resupply services mission (contracted by NASA) to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch—which is slated for no earlier than Sunday, February 9 at 5:39 p.m. EST from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia—will carry a diverse set of research and technology development projects sponsored by the U.S. National Laboratory. This launch represents the first commercial resupply services mission to the ISS in 2020.
Throughout the Space Age, suborbital flight has been the least exciting segment of the launch market. Operating in the shadow of their much larger orbital cousins, sounding rockets carrying scientific instruments, microgravity experiments and technology demonstrations have flown to the fringes of space with little fanfare or media attention.
The suborbital sector has become much more dynamic in recent years now that billionaires have started spending money in it. Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic both made significant progress last year in testing New Shepard and SpaceShipTwo, respectively. Their achievements have raised the real possibility of suborbital space tourism flights in 2019. (I know. Promises, promises…. But, this year they might finally really do it. I think.)