Cygnus Attached to Station Ready for Business

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Dec. 9, 2015: International Space Station Configuration

Dec. 9, 2015: International Space Station Configuration. (Clockwise from top) The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft is docked to the Poisk mini-research module. The ISS Progress 61 spacecraft is docked to the Zvezda service module. The ISS Progress 60 spacecraft is docked to the Pirs docking compartment. The Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft is docked to the Rassvet mini-research module. The Cygnus-4 cargo craft is berthed to the Unity module.

The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo ship was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 9:26 a.m. EST. Cygnus will be the first cargo ship to be berthed to the Earth-facing port on the Unity module.

The spacecraft’s arrival will support the crew members’ research off the Earth to benefit the Earth. The Cygnus is delivering more than 7,000 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory to support dozens of approximately 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 45 and 46. Science payloads aboard Cygnus will offer a new life science facility that will support studies on cell cultures, bacteria and other microorganisms; a microsatellite deployer and the first microsatellite that will be deployed from the space station; and experiments that will study the behavior of gases and liquids, clarify the thermo-physical properties of molten steel, and evaluate flame-resistant textiles.

Cygnus also will deliver replacement cargo items including a set of Microsoft HoloLens devices for use in NASA’s Sidekick project, a safety jet pack astronauts wear during spacewalks known as SAFER, and high pressure nitrogen and oxygen tanks to plug into the station’s air supply network.

The spacecraft will spend more than a month attached to the space station before its destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere in January 2016, disposing of about 3,000 pounds of trash.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station and the hashtag #Cygnus. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect

5 thoughts on “Cygnus Attached to Station Ready for Business

  1. Daniel Cogan

    I like the term “destructive re-entry”… is it designed to completely disintegrate during re-entry or do some larger parts still remain?

    I find the whole re-entry side absolutely incredible. It’s one thing to be able to design a vessel capable of reaching space, but is it actually possible to have a controlled fragmentation?

    Reply
    1. Mark Garcia Post author

      Engineers are studying the destructive re-entry process to create safer, more controlled re-entries. When a cargo vehicle burns up in the atmosphere it does so over the Pacific Ocean so larger debris that survives the re-entry splashes down safely.

      Reply

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