Northrop Grumman announced Jan. 6 that the company has completed the first phase of its 14th cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Mission (CRS-2) contract.
Cygnus was released by the station’s robotic arm at 10:11 a.m. ET, carrying more than 4,000 pounds of disposable cargo and will remain in orbit for approximately two weeks for the secondary phase of its mission.
“For more than six years, Northrop Grumman has supported human spaceflight by delivering critical cargo to astronauts aboard the International Space Station and acting as a host to a number of science experiments and technology demonstrations,” said Frank DeMauro, vice president and general manager, tactical space systems, Northrop Grumman. “Our Cygnus spacecraft will once again demonstrate the capabilities and flexibility we offer our customers by conducting critical experiments during our secondary mission phase.”
Cygnus’ secondary mission includes conducting NASA’s Spacecraft Fire Safety Experiment V (Saffire-V) experiment, which helps researchers understand how fire behaves in microgravity, and hosting the SharkSat payload.
SharkSat is a Northrop Grumman-developed prototype payload mounted to the Cygnus spacecraft that will provide data about the performance of key technologies in a space environment for future missions. SharkSat is driving rapid innovation in technology development and growing Northrop Grumman’s next generation of technical leaders.
The “S.S. Kalpana Chawla”, launched Oct. 2 aboard Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket, carrying nearly 8,000 pounds of scientific research, supplies and equipment to astronauts living on the station. The vehicle has been docked with the orbiting laboratory since Oct. 5.