Space

October 4, 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.

nasa-orbital-iss2

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.

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.

nasa-orbital-iss3

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 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.

nasa-orbital-iss4

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-hubble

NASA unveils celestial fireworks as official image for Hubble 25th Anniversary

The brilliant tapestry of young stars flaring to life resemble a glittering fireworks display in the 25th anniversary NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, released to commemorate a quarter century of exploring the solar system an...
 
 
NASA illustration

NASA awards radiation challenge winners, launches next round

NASA illustration This illustration depicts our heliosphere, showing the approximate locations of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft. Galactic cosmic rays originate outside the heliosphere and stream in uniformly from all direc...
 
 
NASA photograph

Celebrate with NASA as agency commemorates Hubble’s 25th anniversary

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is turning 25 this year. The observatory has transformed our understanding of our solar system and beyond, and helped us find our place among the stars. NASA is celebrating the Hubble Space T...
 

 

ULA unveils America’s new rocket

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emmeil-0u5k&feature=player_embedded United Launch Alliance unveiled its Next Generation Launch System April 13 at the 31st Space Symposium. The new rocket, Vulcan, will transform the future of space by making launch services more affordable and accessible. The NGLS brings together decades of experience on ULA’s reliable Atlas and Delta vehicles, combin...
 
 
NASA/JHU APL/Carnegie Institution of Washington

NASA spacecraft achieves unprecedented success studying Mercury

NASA/JHU APL/Carnegie Institution of Washington NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft traveled more than six and a half years before it was inserted into orbit around Merc...
 
 

NASA selects American small business, research institution projects for further development

NASA has selected 149 research and technology proposals from American small businesses and research institutions that will enable NASA’s future missions into the solar system and beyond while benefiting America’s technology-driven economy right here on Earth. The selected proposals now will enter into negotiations for contract awards as part of Phase II of the agency’s...
 




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>