Cygnus cargo ship successfully docks with ISS

A computer overlay with engineering data provides video of the Canadarm2 robotic arm maneuvering to capture the Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter(Credit: NASA TV)

The Cygnus Orbital ATk Crs-6 mission has docked with the International Space Station (ISS). According to NASA, the unmanned cargo ship was successfully captured by US astronaut and Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra with the assistance of ESA astronaut and Flight Engineer Tim Peake at 6:51 am EDT using one of the station's robotic arms. It was then transferred to the Unity Module, where it docked with one of the Earth-facing ports.

The Cygnus spacecraft lifted off from Earth at 11:05 pm EDT from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a three-month mission to deliver about 7,500 lb (3,400 kg) of supplies to the space station. These include a suite of experiments to study zero-gravity adhesives, soils, and the effects of meteors on the Earth's atmosphere.

The Cygnus us scheduled to remain docked at the ISS until May, after which it will be stuffed with 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) of rubbish and sent on a controlled reentry to burn up over the South Pacific Ocean. Before this happens, it will carry out a fire safety experiment by setting alight a length of material in a contained burn.

The CRS-6 Cygnus is named "S.S. Rick Husband" in honor of US Air Force Colonel Rick Husband, who was the last commander of the Space Shuttle Columbia, which was destroyed during reentry with the loss of all hands on February 1, 2003.

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