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NASA Discusses Northrop Grumman’s Mission to Space Station

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NASA will host a media teleconference to discuss science investigations and technology demonstrations launching on Northrop Grumman’s 15th commercial resupply mission for the agency to the International Space Station (ISS), NASA reported on Thursday. Northrop Grumman has projected its launch of the Cygnus spacecraft no earlier than Feb. 20, 2021.

The company will launch its spacecraft on the Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. The Cygnus spacecraft will carry crew supplies, scientific research and hardware to the orbiting laboratory to support the Expedition 64 and 65 crews.

During the briefing, Mark Fernandez, solutions architect for Converged Edge Systems at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and principal investigator of Spaceborne Computer-2; Nicole Wagner, president and CEO of LambdaVision; Jordan Greco, chief scientific officer of LambdaVision; and Siva Vanapalli, professor of chemical engineering at Texas Tech University in Lubbock will discuss scientific studies and experiments. 

Victoria Drago, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toledo in Ohio and Kerry Lee, Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) Radiation System manager, will also join the conference to address microgravity experiments and the Artemis II mission, respectively.  

Northrop Grumman’s cargo resupply will help deliver science research to the space station, which will increase NASA's ability to conduct new investigations at the only laboratory in space. The ISS has supported science, technology and human innovation that demonstrates new technologies and enables greater research. 

In Jan. 2020, Northrop Grumman reported that its Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to depart the International Space Station and host a two-week demonstration of the SharkSat payload once it leaves the ISS.

The Northrop-built SharkSat is intended to test and demonstrate multiprocessor systems, digital receivers, integrated circuits and other electronic components to facilitate the development of a Ka-band software defined radio that could have potential applications in 5G, space-to-ground and space-to-space communications.

David Schiller, who served as a principal investigator for SharkSat, said the payload will gather and transmit telemetry data back to Earth for analysis.

“In this case, the telemetry data will provide insight into the health and functioning of the electronic components of SharkSat,” Schiller added.