Search This Blog

Monday, September 30, 2013

Cygnus Autonomous Supply Ship Reaches International Space Station After Delay

A video view from NASA TV shows the Cygnus cargo spacecraft
attached to the International Space Station's Canadian-built
robotic arm during its capture and berthing on Sunday.
At the time, both vehicles were travelling over the Indian Ocean.
As reported by USA Today: A second private cargo spacecraft berthed at the International Space Station on Sunday morning, fully establishing NASA's commercial resupply fleet.

Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano steered the station's 58-foot robotic arm to snare Orbital Sciences Corp.'s unmanned Cygnus freighter at 7 a.m. Eastern as the vehicles flew 260 miles above the Indian Ocean.

"It was really, really a pleasure," he said.

"It was really everything we would have wished for today," replied Cady Coleman, an astronaut communicating with the crew from Houston. "Thank you very much to your whole crew."

Parmitano should pull the Cygnus into a docking port around 9 a.m. to complete a voyage that began with a launch 11 days ago from Virginia.

The Cygnus made what appeared to be a flawless and uneventful final approach, a week later than planned after a navigation software glitch postponed the rendezvous.

The station's six-person crew is expected to open the Cygnus hatch Monday morning to begin unloading about 1,300 pounds of food and clothing and some student science experiments.

The Cygnus was flying for the first time on a demonstration mission for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program.

With the successful first flight, a second Cygnus could be called upon to fly Orbital's first resupply mission under a $1.9 billion contract in December.

Under the same demonstration program, SpaceX's Dragon capsule last year became the first privately designed and operated vehicle to visit the station, and SpaceX has completed contracted resupply missions.