Space

September 30, 2013

NASA partner Orbital Sciences completes first flight to ISS as astronauts capture Cygnus spacecraft

nasa-orbital-iss1

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station used a robotic arm to capture and attach a Cygnus cargo resupply spacecraft Sept. 29, marking several spaceflight firsts for NASA and its partner, Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va.

The station’s Expedition 37 crew reported the spacecraft – loaded with about 1,300 pounds of cargo – berthed at 8:44 a.m., EDT, following an 11-day journey to the orbiting laboratory.

Orbital’s Cygnus was launched on the company’s Antares rocket on Sept. 18 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. This was the first flight of a spacecraft to the space station from the state.

The maiden flight of Cygnus included a number of systems tests prior to rendezvous with the station. The cargo includes student experiments, food and clothing, which will be unloaded by the station crew following hatch opening Monday.

Future Cygnus flights will ensure a robust national capability to deliver critical science research to orbit, significantly increasing NASA’s ability to conduct new science investigations to the only laboratory in microgravity.

nasa-orbital-iss2

After a series of tests designed to demonstrate Cygnus’ ability to navigate, maneuver, lock on to the station and abort its approach, NASA cleared the spacecraft to approach the station Sunday morning. European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg captured Cygnus with the station’s robotic arm, then attached the capsule on the bottom of the station’s Harmony node, completing installation by bolting the Cygnus to Harmony.

The capsule will remain attached to Harmony until a planned unberthing on Oct. 22 sends the spacecraft toward a destructive re-entry in Earth’s atmosphere.

Cygnus had been scheduled for a rendezvous with the space station on Sept. 22. Due to a data format mismatch, the first rendezvous attempt was postponed. Orbital updated and tested a software patch to fix the issue. Cygnus’ arrival also was postponed pending the Sept. 25 arrival of the Expedition 37 crew. Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins of NASA and Soyuz Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) arrived at the space station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft Wednesday.

Orbital built and tested its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Program. The successful completion of this COTS demonstration mission will pave the way for Orbital to conduct eight planned cargo resupply flights to the space station through NASA’s $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract with the company.

nasa-orbital-iss3

NASA initiatives, such as COTS, are helping to develop a robust U.S. commercial space transportation industry with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from low-Earth orbit to meet the needs of both commercial and government customers. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program also is working with commercial partners to enable the availability of U.S. commercial human spaceflight capabilities in the next few years.

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.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

NASA launches new Micro-g NExT for undergraduates

NASA is offering undergraduate students an opportunity to participate in a new microgravity activity called Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams. The deadline for proposals is Jan. 28, 2015. Micro-g NExT challenges students to work in teams to design and build prototypes of spacewalking tools to be used by astronauts for spacewalk training in the...
 
 
launch1

Storm fails to quench liftoff of secret reconnaissance satellite

The fiery launch of an Atlas V (541), among the most powerful of the venerable Atlas family, briefly dispelled the gloom over Californiaís Central Coast on the evening of Dec. 12. A team of personnel from United Launch Allianc...
 
 

Lockheed Martin wins Alaska spaceport bid

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The state-owned space agency Dec. 12 named Lockheed Martin the winner of a bidding process to reconfigure a launch pad to accommodate larger rockets than what the Kodiak Launch Complex can currently handle. Lockheed Martin beat out three other bidders to reconfigure launch pad one at the Kodiak site, officials with the...
 

 
LM-orion-recover

Orion spacecraft heading home after successful at-sea recovery by U.S. Navy, NASA

Engineers are getting their first look at the Lockheed Martin-built Orion spacecraft following its successful flight test and recovery Dec. 5. With the spacecraft recovered from the Pacific and brought to port in San Diego, tec...
 
 
Northrop Grumman image

Northrop Grumman to supply navigation system for SBIRS GEO-5 satellite

Northrop Grumman image Artist’s rendering of the Space-Based Infrared System’s Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite.   WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. – Northrop Grumman has been selected by prime contractor Lock...
 
 
boeing-spacecraft

Boeing CST-100 spacecraft moves another step closer to flight

Boeing and NASA recently completed the Ground Segment Critical Design Review and set the baseline design for the company’s Commercial Crew Transportation System, moving a step closer to the planned early 2017 voyage to th...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>