An Orbital ATK-built Cygnus spacecraft has departed from the International Space Station after a commercial resupply mission to start two secondary mission objectives.
The S.S. Alan Poindexter spacecraft will launch the Spacecraft Fire Experiment-II to help study the behavior of fires in microgravity, then deploy CubeSats into orbit to support weather forecasting, Orbital ATK said Monday.
The space vehicle reached ISS in October to deliver 5,300 pounds of crew supplies, scientific experiments and laboratory equipment as part of Orbital ATK’s Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.
Orbital ATK’s team will remotely run the Saffire-II experiment from the ground and set nine different material samples on fire to help researchers understand flammability in microgravity.
NASA’s advanced exploration systems division funded Saffire-II, which was developed at the Glenn Research Center.
S.S. Alan Poindexter will use a NanoRacks-built deployer to launch CubeSats that will conduct meteorological research, Orbital ATK noted.
The company expects Cygnus to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere by Nov. 27.