Aerospace giant Orbital ATK will torch one of its spacecraft as part of an experiment to see how fire acts in microgravity.

The experiment will help NASA better prepare to keep astronauts safe from spacecraft fires during future missions.

“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,” NASA said in a statement. “The experiment lasts about two-and-a-half hours, of which 20 minutes is the actual burn of a fabric panel measuring 0.4 meters (yards) wide by one meter long.”

Orbital ATK will set a spacecraft full of trash ablaze after it drops off vital food and supplies to astronauts living at the International Space Station. The mission is scheduled to blast off Tuesday, but the experiment won’t begin until at least Saturday.

No astronauts will be on the craft when the fire starts, and the spaceship will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere shortly thereafter. space spaceship NASA 2017 2018 usa u.s. “united states” fire fires safety gravity torch craft experiment science prepare “health and safety” travel data atmosphere burn burning fabric tech technology trash food supplies “food storage” mission astronaut money usd dollar project trends trending trendy entertainment fires hazard

This will be Orbital ATK’s seventh mission to space as part of a $1.9 billion contract with NASA. Orbital ATK Inc. is an American aerospace manufacturer and defense industry company. It was formed in 2015 from the merger of Orbital Sciences Corporation and parts of Alliant Techsystems. Orbital ATK designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation-related systems to customers around the world both as a prime contractor and as a merchant supplier. It has workforce of approximately 12,000 employees dedicated to aerospace and including about 4,000 engineers and scientists; 7,000 manufacturing and operations specialists; and 1,000 management and administration personnel Orbital ATK’s Space Systems Group provides satellites for commercial, scientific, and security purposes.[1] This group also produces the Cygnus spacecraft, which delivers cargo to the International Space Station. The group is based at the company’s headquarters in Dulles, Virginia.[6]