Tune in to NASA television beginning at 3 a.m. EST Monday, Feb. 21 to view the capture of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft which launched Saturday at 12:40 p.m. on an Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. At about 4:35 a.m., NASA astronaut Raja Chari will capture Cygnus, with NASA astronaut Kayla Barron acting as backup. After Cygnus capture, mission control in Houston will send ground commands for the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the station’s Unity module Earth-facing port.
This is Northrop Grumman’s 17th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. The Cygnus spacecraft is carrying a fresh supply of 8,300 pounds of scientific investigations and cargo to the orbiting laboratory.
The Cygnus spacecraft is named the S.S. Piers Sellers in honor of the late NASA astronaut who spent nearly 35 days across three missions helping to construct the space station.
NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website will provide live coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival beginning at 3 a.m.
Following its launch earlier today, Cygnus’ solar arrays have deployed and the S.S. Piers Sellers is on its way to the International Space Station. The arrays deployed following launch on the Northrop Grumman Antares rocket at 12:40 p.m. EST from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, carrying 8,300 pounds of research, hardware, and supplies to the International Space Station. Solar array deployment completes the launch phase.
The Cygnus spacecraft will arrive at the space station Monday, Feb. 21, for a capture at approximately 4:35 a.m. Coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival at the space station will begin at 3 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Cygnus spacecraft is filled with supplies and payloads including critical materials to directly support dozens of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expedition 66. Using the Canadarm2 robotic arm, NASA astronaut Raja Chari will capture Cygnus, and Kayla Barron will be acting as a backup. After capture, the spacecraft will be installed on the Unity module’s Earth-facing port.
Cygnus is scheduled to arrive at the space station around 4:35 a.m. Monday, Feb. 21. NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website will provide live coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival beginning at 3 a.m.
NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Kayla Barron will capture Cygnus with the station’s robotic Canadarm2 upon its arrival. After capture, the spacecraft will be installed on the Unity module’s Earth-facing port. This is Northrop Grumman’s 17th contracted resupply mission under the second Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.
This is the first Cygnus mission featuring enhanced capabilities to perform a re-boost to the space station’s orbit as a standard service for NASA; one re-boost is planned while Cygnus is connected to the orbiting laboratory.
A U.S. resupply ship is poised to blast off Saturday morning on a day-and-a-half-long journey to replenish the International Space Station. While two astronauts train for its robotic capture, the rest of the Expedition 66 crew focused on maintaining science hardware and orbital lab systems.
Weather at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia is forecast to be 75% favorable for the launch of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter on Saturday at 12:40 p.m. EST. NASA Flight Engineers Raja Chari and Kayla Barron will be on duty Monday morning observing Cygnus’s arrival from the seven-windowed cupola. Chari will be at the robotics workstation commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture Cygnus on Monday at 4:35 a.m. when it reaches a distance of about 10 meters from the station. Barron will be monitoring the cargo craft’s systems during its methodical approach and rendezvous.
Following the successful capture of Cygnus, ground controllers will take over the controls of the Canadarm2 and remotely maneuver the vehicle toward the Unity module. Cygnus will then be installed on Unity, where the astronauts will open the hatches shortly afterward and begin unloading over 8,300 pounds of station gear and new science experiments. NASA TV, on the agency’s app and website, will broadcast the launch live beginning Saturday at 12:15 p.m. with rendezvous and capture coverage beginning Monday at 3 a.m.
The crew’s remaining three astronauts and two cosmonauts serviced a variety of station gear, worked on space research, and unpacked a new Russian resupply ship.
Commander Anton Shkaplerov explored plasma physics that could inform future research methods and spacecraft designs. Roscosmos Flight Engineer worked on Russian communications gear before continuing to unpack cargo from the newly arrived Progress 80 cargo craft.
A U.S. rocket carrying Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter is counting down to launch toward the International Space Station on Saturday. Meanwhile, Russia’s Progress 80 cargo craft completed a two-day space delivery mission to the Expedition 66 crew early Thursday.
An Antares rocket stands at the Wallops Flight Facility launch pad in Virginia ready to boost the Cygnus cargo craft to orbit on Saturday. It will lift off at 12:40 p.m. EST placing Cygnus, carrying more than 8,300 pounds of station gear and science experiments, into space about nine minutes later. Once on orbit, Cygnus will deploy its cymbal-shaped UltraFlex solar arrays which will power the vehicle during its journey to the orbiting lab.
NASA Flight Engineers Raja Chari and Kayla Barron will be on duty early Monday monitoring Cygnus’ automated approach and rendezvous. When Cygnus reaches a point about 10 meters from the station, Chari will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and capture the vehicle at 4:35 a.m. Ground controllers will then take over the Canadarm2 and remotely install the U.S. cargo craft to the Unity module a couple of hours later.
Russia’s Progress 80 resupply ship docked to the Poisk module at 2:03 a.m. on Thursday, delivering nearly three-and-a-half tons of food, fuel, and supplies, to the seven orbital residents. Station commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov opened the hatch a few hours later and began unpacking the cargo that had launched from Kazakhstan just over two days earlier.
Despite the busy cargo schedule this week, biomedical science was in full-swing on the station today. Barron joined NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Mark Vande Hei investigating how weightlessness affects visual function. Chari partnered with ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer and checked his eyes using medical imaging gear.