The early risers of the East Coast of the USA. UU They could be shown tomorrow morning: the private space company Orbital ATK will launch its Antares rocket with a Cygnus spacecraft at 4:39 a.m. EDT of the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The mission is the company's ninth flight for NASA, and it is headed to the International Space Station, where it will leave 7,400 pounds of scientific equipment and supplies when it is attached on Thursday, May 24.
A piece of equipment that will transport the rocket is the Cold Atoms Laboratory, which will use magnetic fields and lasers to create clouds of atoms called Bose-Einstein condensates (BEC), cooled just above absolute zero . On Earth, these BECs are dragged down by gravity, limiting the amount of time they can be observed, but aboard the microgravity environment of the ISS, they can be observed for much longer, up to 10 seconds, and must be given to scientists some information about how the particles interact with each other.
Once the Cygnus spacecraft leaves the station within seven weeks, it will launch six CubeSats. The tiny satellites will show from miniature and experimental radar instruments to study the precipitation in the Earth's atmosphere and new technologies designed to reduce the increasing interference of radio frequency around the Earth. The Cygnus will also carry a new communications system called Common Communication for Visiting Vehicles (C2V2) m for the first time.
If the weather is clear, residents of Massachusetts to South Carolina could see the launch of the rocket early tomorrow morning. The last mission of Orbital ATK to the ISS was carried out last November, and the company plans to carry out another mission later this fall.