Space

October 23, 2013

Orbital Sciences Cygnus spacecraft departs ISS, ends demonstration mission for NASA

A cargo resupply demonstration mission by Orbital Sciences Corp. drew to a close Oct. 22 as Expedition 37 crew members aboard the International Space Station detached and released the Dulles, Va., company’s Cygnus spacecraft from the orbiting laboratory.

Cygnus had been attached to the space station’s Harmony module for 23 days. The spacecraft delivered about 1,300 pounds of cargo, including food, clothing and student experiments. 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.

“Congratulations to the teams at Orbital Sciences and NASA who worked hard to make this demonstration mission to the International Space Station an overwhelming success,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “We are delighted to now have two American companies able to resupply the station. U.S. innovation and inspiration have once again shown their great strength in the design and operation of a new generation of vehicles to carry cargo to our laboratory in space. Orbital’s success today is helping make NASA’s future exploration to farther destinations possible.”

Prior to its departure from the station, Cygnus was loaded with items no longer needed aboard the station. Astronauts Karen Nyberg of NASA and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency detached the spacecraft using the station’s robotic arm and released Cygnus at 7:31 a.m., EDT. Orbital Sciences engineers now will conduct a series of planned burns and maneuvers to move Cygnus toward a destructive re-entry in Earth’s atmosphere Oct. 23.

Cygnus was launched Sept. 18 on Orbital’s Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The maiden flight of Cygnus and its 11-day journey to the station included a number of tests designed to demonstrate the spacecraft’s ability to navigate, maneuver, lock on to the station and abort its approach. Following these demonstrations NASA cleared the spacecraft to approach the station Sept. 29. Cygnus had been scheduled for a rendezvous with the space station Sept. 22, but because of a data format mismatch, the first rendezvous attempt was postponed. Orbital updated and tested a software patch to resolve the issue.

Orbital built and tested its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Program. 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.




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


 
 

 
nasa-astronaut

Veteran NASA astronaut, spacewalker retires from NASA

Veteran astronaut Mike Foreman has retired from NASA to join a Houston-based consulting firm. A retired captain in the U.S. Navy, Foreman’s last day with the agency is July 31. “Mike is a great American who has served our ...
 
 
NASA/JPL-Caltech photograph

NASA selects proposals to study neutron stars, black holes, more

NASA/JPL-Caltech photograph The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), launched in 2012, is an Explorer mission that allows astronomers to study the universe in high energy X-rays. NASA has selected five proposals subm...
 
 
NASA/JPL-Caltech  image

NASA’s Spitzer confirms closest rocky exoplanet

NASA/JPL-Caltech image This artist’s concept shows the silhouette of a rocky planet, dubbed HD 219134b. At 21 light-years away, the planet is the closest outside of our solar system that can be seen crossing, or transitin...
 

 

NASA awards contract to support agency’s human spaceflight programs

NASA has selected Wyle Laboratories Inc., of El Segundo, Calif., to provide biomedical, medical and health services in support of all human spaceflight programs at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The work supports ongoing research aboard the International Space Station and helps enable the journey to Mars. The Human Health and Performance contract...
 
 
nasa-astronaut

Astronaut Stephen Frick retires from NASA

Astronaut Stephen Frick has retired from NASA to accept a position in the private sector. Frick, who flew as both a shuttle pilot and commander, left the Agency July 13. Steve has been a great asset to the astronaut office and ...
 
 
NASA/JPL-CalTech/R. Hurt photograph

NASA’s Kepler mission discovers bigger, older cousin to Earth

NASA/JPL-CalTech/R. Hurt photograph This size and scale of the Kepler-452 system compared alongside the Kepler-186 system and the solar system. Kepler-186 is a miniature solar system that would fit entirely inside the orbit of ...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>