Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Northrop Grumman plans to launch a cargo capsule to the International Space Station from Virginia on Sunday, carrying 8,000 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies and hardware.
The company's Antares rocket will carry a disposable Cygnus capsule on Northrop's CRS-13 mission from Pad 0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. Liftoff is scheduled for 5:39 p.m. EST.
Weather conditions should be 90 percent favorable for the launch, according to official forecasts.
As with all launches to the space station, the launch window is instantaneous, meaning any problems would cause a postponement to the next day or a future date. NASA says the launch might be visible, weather permitting, to residents throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and possibly the East Coast of the United States.
Northrop designed the Cygnus capsule to accept trash from the space station after delivering cargo, and to burn up in the atmosphere after leaving.
The capsule is carrying equipment for scientific work that includes:
* Tissue culturing that will occur on the station's Mobile SpaceLab, which can perform a biology experiment autonomously for up to a month without the need for crew operations.
* The Mochii Investigation, an initial demonstration of a new miniature scanning electron microscope capable of real-time, on-site imaging and measurements of microstructures and nanostructures aboard the space station.
* Spacecraft Fire Experiment-IV (Saffire-IV) to examine fire development and growth in different materials and environmental conditions, fire detection and monitoring, and post-fire cleanup capabilities. It is part of a series of fire investigations conducted in the Cygnus after its departure from space station, eliminating exposure of humans or occupied spacecraft to fire danger.