An ISS mission kit for science experiment developed by Cape Town-based XinaBox in partnership with US-based Quest for Space has successfully lifted-off into space at around 3:21 pm Eastern Time on 15 February, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, onboard Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus NG-13 resupply mission to the International Space Station.
The launch was initially scrubbed on 9 February minutes before lift-off due to off-nominal readings from a ground support sensor. Subsequent rescheduling followed due to unfavourable weather conditions until the final lift-off on 15 February.
The Cygnus spacecraft carried approximately 7,500 pounds (3,400 kilograms) of cargo as supplies to the ISS. Among other supplies, the launch vehicle ferried XinaBox’s XK92 ISS mission experiment kit alongside 17 other science experiments affiliated with the Quest for Space Program. Fourteen of these experiment modules were developed by Partner Schools as part of the Quest for Space Program, one by Texas A & M University, and two Quest Improved Design Qualification Units.
The XinaBox kit is a pilot ISS mission payload aimed at demonstrating XinaBox’s latest XK92 xChips developed for science experiments in space.
While onboard the ISS, the XinaBox payload will collect various datasets ranging from temperature to humidity, pressure, volatile organic compounds, g-force and acceleration. The datasets will be stored on an SD card to be assessed once the experiments return to Earth after some weeks.
Schools across the globe will be engaged to concurrently collect data, with their XK92 kit, for data analysis and interpretation on Earth. Student teams will compare their data with that recovered from the ISS XK92, upon its return to Earth on the SpaceX 20 mission.
“The idea is to have students in a classroom mirror science experiments conducted on the International Space Station and experience the dream of collecting space data for scientific research,” Judi Sandrock, co-founder of XinaBox, told Space in Africa in an earlier interview, pointing out that they intend making available the ISS mission payload as a learning kit for schools to build upon.
Read more details about the mission in this article with comments from XinaBox and Quest for Space.
The Quest for Space Lab educational research flight opportunity was made available to Valley Christian High School of San Jose, California, via a partnership with the Quest Institute for Quality Education, and by Space Tango who provides both the payload architecture and in-flight operations on the International Space Station.
For schools wanting to participate in the program, contact Judi Sandrock on firstname.lastname@example.org or have a look at the kit on XinaBox XK92 product page.
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Analyst at Space in Africa. His experience spans industry research and market analysis with a focus on African-grown NewSpace companies, commercial space industry, national space programmes and real-life application of space science for sustainable development in Africa.