Two NASA Glenn Experiments will Launch Aboard Spacecraft Named for John Glenn

Press Release From: Glenn Research Center
Posted: Tuesday, April 18, 2017

NASA's Glenn Research Center will send two experiments, the Zero Boil-Off Tank (ZBOT) experiment and Spacecraft Fire Experiment-III (Saffire-III), to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the S. S. John Glenn, Orbital ATK's seventh commercial supply services mission. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch Tuesday, April 18 at 11:11 a.m. EDT.

William Sheredy, ZBOT project manager, and David Urban, Saffire principal investigator, are available to meet with media at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland on Tuesday, April 18 at 8:30 a.m.

Media who want to attend should contact Debbie Lockhart at 216-433-8655 or by 7 a.m. on April 18 for security clearance. Additional interviews are available upon request.

Zero Boil-Off Tank experiment

Rocket fuel and other liquids used in space are stored at cryogenic temperatures of –423 to -243 degrees F. As these liquid cryogens are warmed by the environment, they evaporate, which increases pressures inside storage tanks. ZBOT will study ways to relieve this pressure without the loss of fluid. Results from the investigation will help improve tank design for long-term cryogenic liquid storage and pressure control, reducing the risk and cost of future deep space exploration missions.


Saffire-III is the third in a series of experiments to ignite a large-scale fire in microgravity. The investigation will heat up this summer, when the trash-filled Cygnus resupply vehicle departs the ISS with Saffire onboard.  While in space, after traveling a safe distance from the station, the fire is lit and data is collected before re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. The experiment lasts about two-and-a-half hours, of which 20 minutes is the actual burn of a fabric panel measuring .4 meters wide by 1 meter long.  The experiments were designed to improve understanding of fire growth in microgravity and safeguard future space missions.

The launch will air live on NASA TV and the agency's website beginning at 10 a.m.

For an updated schedule of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage, visit:

To learn more about NASA Glenn, visit:

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