10:23 GMT +316 October 2019
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    International Space Station

    NASA Preps Microgravity Experiments, Tiny Satellites in Space Station Payload

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    A resupply launch to ISS includes experiments to grow crystals and monitor genetic changes in microgravity, as well as small satellites to be placed in orbit.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — A resupply launch to the International Space Station includes experiments to grow crystals and monitor genetic changes in microgravity, as well as small satellites to be placed in orbit, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced in a press release on Wednesday.

    "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.


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    experiment, gravity, International Space Station (ISS), NASA
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