Sciences Corporation (NYSE:ORB), one of the world's leading space
technology companies, today announced that its Cygnus™
cargo logistics spacecraft successfully completed its rendezvous and
approach maneuvers with the International Space Station (ISS) and was
grappled and berthed with the station by the Expedition 38 astronaut
crew earlier this morning. After Cygnus was launched into orbit by
Orbital's Antares™ rocket on Thursday, January 9 from NASA's Wallops
Flight Facility, it completed a series of thruster firings and other
maneuvers bringing the spacecraft in close proximity to the ISS. Final
approach to the station began at about 3:00 a.m. (EST) this morning,
culminating with the station's robotic arm grappling the spacecraft at
6:08 a.m. when it was about 30 feet (10 meters) from the ISS. Cygnus was
then guided to its berthing port on the nadir side of the ISS' Harmony
module where its installation was completed at 8:05 a.m.
"Our first mission under the CRS contract with NASA was flawlessly
executed by our Antares and Cygnus operations team, from the
picture-perfect launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility to the
rendezvous, capture and berthing at the space sation this morning,"
said Mr. David W. Thompson, Orbital's President and Chief Executive
Officer. "From the men and women involved in the design, integration and
test, to those who launched the Antares and operated the Cygnus, our
whole team has performed at a very high level for our NASA customer and
I am very proud of their extraordinary efforts."
Cygnus will remain berthed at the ISS until February 18. Cygnus is
delivering approximately 2,780 lbs. (1,260 kg.) of cargo and science
payloads to the Expedition 38 astronauts. Either later today or
tomorrow, the crew plans to open the Cygnus hatch and make initial
ingress into its cargo module. Cygnus will remain attached to the
station for 37 days before departing with approximately 2,800 lbs.
(1,300 kg.) of disposable cargo for a safe, destructive reentry over the
Under a $1.9 billion CRS contract with NASA, Orbital will use Antares
and Cygnus to deliver up to 44,000 pounds (20,000 kilograms) of cargo to
the ISS over eight missions, including the mission currently underway,
through late 2016. For these missions, NASA will manifest a variety of
essential items based on ISS program needs, including food, clothing,
crew supplies, spare parts and equipment, and scientific experiments.
Orbital developed the Cygnus cargo spacecraft as part of its COTS joint
research and development initiative with NASA. Cygnus consists of a
common Service Module (SM) and a Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM). The SM
incorporates avionics, power, propulsion and communications systems
already successfully flown aboard dozens of Orbital's LEOStar™ and
GEOStar™ satellites. The PCM, designed and built by Thales Alenia Space
under a subcontract from Orbital, is based on the Multi-Purpose
Logistics Module (MPLM) previously used with the Space Shuttle. With a
full load of cargo and fuel, the standard-configuration Cygnus weighs
about 5,200 kg at launch and generates 3.5 kw of electrical power while
in orbit. It is capable of extended-duration missions of a year or
longer in space.
Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and
space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers.
The company's primary products are satellites and launch vehicles,
including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary
spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense
missions; human-rated space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar and other
missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into
orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as interceptor and
target vehicles. Orbital also provides satellite subsystems and
space-related technical services to government agencies and
laboratories. More information about Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com.
Follow the company on Twitter @OrbitalSciences.
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