"The Orbital ATK Cygnus vehicle is slated to launch its seventh cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) no earlier than March 27, 2017 onboard United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V vehicle, carrying more than 40 ISS US National Laboratory sponsored investigations," the release stated.
The payload includes a miniature satellite to measure ice particles embedded in clouds and another satellite to take measurements that will help explain the origins of the Universe, the release explained.
The payload also includes several experiments to test crystal growth and biological impacts of microgravity, including the impact of space flight on human DNA, the release noted.
The DNA experiment will examine the impact of microgravity on telomeres, the protective caps of chromosomes. Space related changes in telomeres have been linked to an elevated risk of heart disease and some cancers in astronauts, according to the release.
The spacecraft made by the private aerospace company Orbital ATK will be lifted into orbit by an Atlas V rocket, which uses Russian made RD-180 engines to power the first of the rocket’s two stages.