Space

Cygnus docks with International Space Station

Cygnus docks with Internationa...
Cygnus made its rendezvous with the station at at 8:44 AM EDT on Sunday (image: NASA TV)
Cygnus made its rendezvous with the station at at 8:44 AM EDT on Sunday (image: NASA TV)
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Cygnus approaching the ISS (Image: NASA)
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Cygnus approaching the ISS (Image: NASA)
Cygnus approaching Canadarm (Image: NASA)
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Cygnus approaching Canadarm (Image: NASA)
Cygnus made its rendezvous with the station at at 8:44 AM EDT on Sunday (image: NASA TV)
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Cygnus made its rendezvous with the station at at 8:44 AM EDT on Sunday (image: NASA TV)
Artist's concept of Cygnus approaching the ISS (Image: Orbital Sciences Corporation)
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Artist's concept of Cygnus approaching the ISS (Image: Orbital Sciences Corporation)
Cygnus launching atop the Antares rocket image: NASA)
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Cygnus launching atop the Antares rocket image: NASA)
Demonstrations and go/n0-go points for the Cygnus approach (Image: NASA)
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Demonstrations and go/n0-go points for the Cygnus approach (Image: NASA)
Profile of the Cygnus orbital rendezvous (Image: NASA)
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Profile of the Cygnus orbital rendezvous (Image: NASA)
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Orbital Science Corporation’s unmanned Cygnus cargo ship has successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft made its rendezvous with the station at 8:44 AM EDT on Sunday, a week behind schedule and 11 days after launching from NASA’s Wallops Island facility. The delay was due to a software malfunction and the need to make way for the docking of a manned Soyuz spacecraft on September 25.

This demonstration mission marks the first time a Cygnus spacecraft has visited the ISS and the beginning of regular cargo runs by it and SpaceX’s Dragon freighter. Carrying 1,300 lb (589 km) of non-essential cargo, Cygnus had been trailing the station at a distance of about 1,500 mi (2,400 km).

Once a software patch was installed and the Soyuz had docked, Cygnus was given the go to approach on Sunday morning. It carried out a series of system and safety checks before approaching the station, where it stood off while European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg used one of the station’s Canadarm robotic arms to capture it and guide it to an empty docking port on the Harmony module, where it was bolted in place. Cygnus will remain attached to the ISS until October 22 while it is being unloaded. It will then undock and be sent to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere over the South Pacific.

The NASA video below shows highlights of the docking maneuver.

Source: NASA

Welcome Cygnus!

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4 comments
JimRD
Way to go Orbital!
piperTom
It's designed to burn up on re-entry? I'd like to see figures on the economics of that, but -on first impression- it gives the SpaceX Dragon a big edge.
Slowburn
@ piperTom The cost of fuel is high enough that that fuel savings in not lofting a heat shield may be more than the cost of building a disposable vehicle.
Gregg Eshelman
With a name like Cygnus the cargo should've included a small printout of a "The Black Hole" movie poster.