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January 13, 2014
RELEASE 14-003
Warren School Experiment Among NASA Cargo on Space Station

An experiment designed by Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center in Warren, Mich., is among the cargo which arrived to the International Space Station Sunday on the Orbital-1 cargo resupply mission.

Designed by eleventh graders, the experiment, entitled "The Formation of Silver Crystals in Microgravity," is part of the NanoRacks-National Center for Earth and Space Science Education-Orion payload.

This experiment seeks to understand what happens to the formation of crystals in a microgravity environment with increased radiation. This research will test if crystals can be formed in space and if they are similar to those formed on Earth. Crystal has been found to be able to store natural because of its porous and rigid nature. If they grow in space similar to the way they grow on Earth, they could prove useful for storing fuel in space.

Orbital-1 is NASA's first contracted resupply mission to the space station by U.S. company Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va. Orbital's Cygnus spacecraft launched atop the company's Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia on Jan. 9. Expedition 38 crew members captured the Orbital-1 Cygnus using the space station's robotic arm at 6:08 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 12.

Orbital developed its Antares and Cygnus with NASA and successfully completed a test mission to the space station in September, enabling the first of eight planned contract resupply flights by the company. The capsule is scheduled to remain attached to the station through mid-January. It then will return for a destructive reentry in Earth’s atmosphere.

The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that demonstrates new technologies and makes research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. The space station has had continuous human occupation since November 2000. In that time it has been visited by more than 200 people and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft. The space station remains the springboard to NASA's next great leap in exploration, including future missions to an asteroid and Mars.

For more information about the Orbital-1 mission and the International Space Station, visit:


Katherine K. Martin
Glenn Research Center, Cleveland

Joshua Buck
Headquarters, Washington

Susan Anderson
Johnson Space Center, Houston

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Page Last Updated: January 13th, 2014
Page Editor: Kathy Zona