Cygnus, now on its way to ISS, carries projects on microgravity, astronaut sleep quality and technology for water supply, NASA said Sunday.
The spacecraft lifted off on the Antares 230+ rocket from the space agency's Virginia-based Wallops Flight Facility, representing Northrop's 15th cargo mission for ISS.
The mission is also the company's fourth flight under the second round of NASA's Commercial Resupply Services program.
The first science project, titled “Using worms to learn about muscle loss,” will explore how small worms can help researchers study how microgravity causes muscle pains in astronauts while the second one, named “I dream of space,” will gather data on how a space environment affects human sleep.
The last project, “A life support upgrade,” will seek to update ISS' Environmental Control and Life Support System, which supplies clean water and air. This project will test an experimental technology designed to recover more water from the station's urine processor.
Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut from Japan, will facilitate Cygnus' docking via the Canadarm2 robotic arm system.
ISS will host Cygnus until May and then the spacecraft will begin its re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.