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News

Cygnus cargo spacecraft berths at the ISS

Orbital Sciences : 14 January, 2014  (Application Story)
A rendezvous with the International Space Station has been successfully completed by the Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft
Cygnus cargo spacecraft berths at the ISS

Orbital Sciences' Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft has successfully completed its rendezvous and approach manoeuvres with the International Space Station (ISS) and was grappled and berthed with the station by the Expedition 38 astronaut crew. After Cygnus was launched into orbit by Orbital’s Antares rocket on Thursday, January 9 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, it completed a series of thruster firings and other maneuvers bringing the spacecraft in close proximity to the ISS. Final approach to the station began at about 3:00 a.m. (EST) this morning, culminating with the station’s robotic arm grappling the spacecraft at 6:08 a.m. when it was about 30 feet (10 metres) from the ISS. Cygnus was then guided to its berthing port on the nadir side of the ISS’ Harmony module where its installation was completed at 8:05 a.m.

“Our first mission under the CRS contract with NASA was flawlessly executed by our Antares and Cygnus operations team, from the picture-perfect launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility to the rendezvous, capture and berthing at the space station this morning,” said Mr David Thompson, Orbital’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “From the men and women involved in the design, integration and test, to those who launched the Antares and operated the Cygnus, our whole team has performed at a very high level for our NASA customer and I am very proud of their extraordinary efforts.”

Cygnus will remain berthed at the ISS until February 18th. Cygnus is delivering approximately 2780 lbs (1260 kg) of cargo and science payloads to the Expedition 38 astronauts. Either later today or tomorrow, the crew plans to open the Cygnus hatch and make initial ingress into its cargo module. Cygnus will remain attached to the station for 37 days before departing with approximately 2800 lbs (1300 kg) of disposable cargo for a safe, destructive reentry over the Pacific Ocean.

Under a $1.9 billion CRS contract with NASA, Orbital will use Antares and Cygnus to deliver up to 44,000 pounds (20,000 kilograms) of cargo to the ISS over eight missions, including the mission currently underway, through late 2016. For these missions, NASA will manifest a variety of essential items based on ISS program needs, including food, clothing, crew supplies, spare parts and equipment, and scientific experiments.

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