Northrop Grumman’s uncrewed Cygnus spacecraft now is scheduled to depart the International Space Station at 7:05 a.m. Tuesday, June 28, more than four months after delivering 8,300 pounds of supplies, scientific investigations, commercial products, hardware, and other cargo to the orbiting laboratory for NASA.
The release of Cygnus is being delayed one hour to better setup Cygnus’ trajectory to be clear of conjunctions and for improved communications capability post-release from the space station.
Flight controllers on the ground sent commands earlier this morning for the space station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach Cygnus from the Unity module’s nadir port. NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins will monitor Cygnus’ systems upon its departure from the space station.
Following a deorbit engine firing on Wednesday, June 29, Cygnus will begin a planned destructive re-entry, in which the spacecraft – filled with trash packed by the station crew – will safely burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.
Cygnus arrived at the space station Feb. 21, following a launch on Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. It was the company’s 17th commercial resupply services mission to the space station for NASA. Northrop Grumman named the spacecraft after the late NASA astronaut and climate scientist Piers Sellers.
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