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What Cargo is Launching in October to the International Space Station?

What Cargo is Launching in October to the International Space Station?

On Monday, Oct. 17, Orbital ATK is scheduled to send new science experiments to the International Space Station. 


The Cygnus spacecraft will blast off from our Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia at 7:40 p.m. EDT carrying more than 5,100 pounds of science, supplies and equipment.

Let’s take a look at a few of these experiments:

Cool Flames

Low-temperature fires with no visible flames are known as cool flames. The Cool flames experiment examines these low-temperature combustion of droplets of a variety of fuels and additives in low gravity.


Why are we studying this? Data from this experiment could help scientists develop more efficient advanced engines and new fuels for use in space and on Earth.

Lighting Effects

Light plays a powerful role in our daily, or circadian, rhythms. Astronauts aboard the space station experience multiple cycles of light and dark every 24 hours, which, along with night shifts and the stresses of spaceflight, can affect their sleep quantity and quality.


The Lighting Effects investigation tests a new lighting system aboard the station designed to enhance crew health and keep their body clocks in proper sync with a more regular working and resting schedule.

Why are we studying this? Lighting manipulation has potential as a safe, non-pharmacological way to optimize sleep and circadian regulation on space missions. People on Earth, especially those who work night shifts, could also improve alertness and sleep by adjusting lighting for intensity and wavelength.


A user-friendly tablet app provides astronauts with a new and faster way to collect a wide variety of personal data. The EveryWear experiment tests use of this French-designed technology to record and transmit data on nutrition, sleep, exercise and medications. Astronauts use the app to complete questionnaires and keep medical and clinical logs. They wear a Smartshirt during exercise that records heart activity and body positions and transmits these data to the app. Finally, rather than manually recording everything that they eat, crew members scan barcodes on food packets to collect real-time nutritional data.


Why are we studying this? EveryWear has the potential for use in science experiments, biomedical support and technology demonstrations.

Fast Neturon Spectrometer

Outside the Earth’s magnetic field, astronauts are exposed to space radiation that can reduce immune response, increase cancer risk and interfere with electronics.


The Fast Neutron Spectrometer (FNS) experiment will help scientists understand high-energy neutrons, part of the radiation exposure experienced by crews during spaceflight, by studying a new technique to measure electrically neutral neutron particles.

Why are we studying this? This improved measurement will help protect crews on future exploration missions, like our journey to Mars.

Watch Launch

Ahead of launch, there will be various opportunities to learn more about the mission:


What’s on Board Science Briefing
Saturday, Oct. 15 at 4 p.m. EDT
Scientists and researchers will discuss some of the experiments being delivered to the station.
Watch HERE.

Prelaunch News Briefing
Saturday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. EDT
Mission managers will provide an overview and status of launch operations.
Watch HERE.

Monday, Oct. 17 coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. EDT
Watch live coverage and liftoff! Launch is scheduled for 7:40 p.m. EDT.
Watch HERE.

Facebook Live
Starting at 7:25 p.m. EDT you can stream live coverage of the launch on NASA’s Facebook page.
Watch HERE.

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