NASA, Orbital ATK Set Cygnus Launch for Oct. 13

Cygnus Spacecraft
The Cygnus spacecraft is pictured Dec. 9, 2015, moments before it was captured by the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

The Cygnus spacecraft is targeted to launch atop an Antares rocket Oct. 13 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia. NASA and Orbital ATK officials successfully completed a flight readiness review and are working towards an Oct. 11 roll out of the vehicle to the launch pad.

This will be the sixth cargo mission to the International Space Station for Orbital ATK which will be packing about 2,400 kilograms of crew supplies and research gear inside Cygnus. While mission managers work on pre-launch activities, the Expedition 49 crew is preparing for Cygnus’ cargo delivery and training for its robotic capture.

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi will monitor Cygnus from the robotics workstation inside the cupola during its approach and rendezvous. When Cygnus reaches a point about 10 meters from the station the duo will command the 57.7-foot Canadarm2 to grapple the resupply ship. Ground controllers will then remotely take control of Canadarm2 and mount Cygnus to the Unity module.

Despite a busy schedule, all three crew members, including Commander Anatoly Ivanishin, continue pressing ahead with ongoing science experiments and station maintenance. Onishi is in the middle of a study documenting his nutritional intake this week while Rubins checked out a U.S. spacesuit today. Ivanishin worked on Russian life support systems and had time set aside for space research.


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