Tag Archives: cygnus

Solar Arrays Deployed, Cygnus Heads to Station

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Cygnus Spacecraft and Solar Arrays

The Cygnus spacecraft and its solar arrays are displayed in this computer representation. Credit: NASA TV

The Cygnus spacecraft’s solar arrays have deployed.

The cargo ship will rendezvous with the International Space Station on Sunday, Oct. 23. It will be grappled at approximately 7:05 a.m. by Expedition 49 Flight Engineers Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Kate Rubins of NASA. After Cygnus’ capture, ground controllers will command the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the bottom of the station’s Unity module. It is scheduled depart the space station on Nov. 18.

Science investigations aboard Cygnus on their way to the space station also include commercial and academic payloads in myriad disciplines, including:

  • Saffire II, the second in a series of experiments to ignite and study a large-scale fire inside an empty Cygnus resupply vehicle after it leaves the space station and before it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere to improving understanding of fire growth in microgravity and safeguarding future space missions.
  • Cool flames, an investigation into a phenomenon where some types of fuels initially burn very hot and then appear to go out — but actually continue to burn at a much lower temperature with no visible flames.
  • Controlled Dynamics locker- equipment that can minimize fluctuations and disturbances in the microgravity environment that can occur onboard a moving spacecraft that can enable a new class of research experiments.

NanoRacks Black Box- a platform that can provide advanced science capabilities and is specially designed for near-launch payload turnover of autonomous payloads including use of robotics, new automated MixStix and NanoLab-style research.

Cygnus Lifts Off on Six-Day Trip to Station

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Liftoff of the Orbital ATK Antares Rocket

The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016 at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus cargo spacecraft lifted off at 7:45 p.m. EDT and is on its way to the International Space Station. At the time of launch, the space station was traveling at an altitude of about 250 miles, over northwest Australia.

An hour and half after launch, commands will be given to deploy the spacecraft’s UltraFlex solar arrays.

Launch coverage will continue on NASA TV at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv until shortly after spacecraft separation then resume at about 9:05 p.m. for solar array deployment, which is expected to last about 30 minutes.

A post-launch news conference will follow and is scheduled to begin on NASA TV at approximately 10:00 p.m.

Watch Cygnus Launch Live on NASA TV

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Full Moon Sets Over Antares Rocket

The full moon sets Oct. 16 over the Antares rocket at the launch pad in Virginia. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The countdown has begun for Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket, with the Cygnus cargo spacecraft on top, and is progressing smoothly today. There are no technical concerns with the rocket or spacecraft and weather is 100 percent “go.”

Liftoff is scheduled to occur during a five minute window beginning at 7:40 p.m. EDT from the Mid-Atlantic Spaceport’s Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Live coverage of the launch on NASA TV will begin at 6:45 p.m. at: https://www.nasa.gov/ntv

Cygnus is loaded with about 5,100 pounds of science investigations, food, supplies and hardware for the space station and its crew.

When Cygnus arrives to the space station, on Sunday, Oct. 23, Expedition 49 Flight Engineers Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Kate Rubins of NASA will grapple the spacecraft. They will use the space station’s robotic arm to take hold of the Cygnus, dubbed the S.S. Alan Poindexter. After Cygnus’ capture, ground controllers will command the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the bottom of the station’s Unity module.

The Cygnus spacecraft will spend about 5 weeks attached to the space station. Cygnus will remain at the space station until November, when the spacecraft will depart the station and initiate the second spacecraft fire safety investigation, Saffire-II, and then dispose of approximately several tons of trash during its fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.

Orbital ATK CRS-5 Countdown & Launch Highlights

The countdown uses both a range countdown clock (L Minus Clock) and a software sequencer (T Minus Clock). The launch countdown is initiated with the Range Clock at L minus 6 hours 15 minutes and is a running clock. The T Minus Clock is initiated at T minus 3 hours 10 minutes (sequencer start-up) and stops with built-in holds.

EDT                        Event

1:10 pm          Report to stations
1:25 pm          Open Checklist, begin countdown
3:10 pm          Poll to Readiness for LV External Power On
3:55 pm          Poll to initiate Loading Sequencer Timeline
4:00 pm          Loading Sequencer Start
5:40 pm          Enter into 20-minute built-in hold at T-1 hour, 30 minutes (L-2 hours)
6:00 pm          Resume the count at T-1 hour, 30 minutes (L-1 hour, 40 minutes)
6:05 pm          Start propellant loading at T-1 hour, 25 minutes (L-1 hour, 35 minutes)
6:45 pm         NASA TV COVERAGE BEGINS
7:22 pm          Enter into final 10-minute hold at T-8 minutes (L-18 minutes)
7:30 pm          Poll for readiness to proceed with the final countdown (L-10 minutes)
7:32 pm          Start final countdown at T-8 minutes
7:37 pm          Initiate Auto Sequence Handoff for the Terminal Count (T-3:30)
7:40 pm         LAUNCH
7:44 pm          MECO on Antares first stage
7:44 pm          Stage 1 Sep
7:44 pm          Fairing Sep
7:44 pm          Interstage Sep
7:44 pm          Second stage ignition
7:47 pm          Stage 2 Burnout/orbit insertion
7:49 pm          Cygnus Sep from second stage
9:05 pm          NASA TV Commentary resumes for Solar Array Deploy
~9:10 pm        Solar Array Deployment Begins
~9:40 pm        Solar Array Deployment Ends
~9:45 pm        Commentary ends
~10:00 pm     Post-launch news conference

Cargo and Crew Missions Ready for Liftoff This Week

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The Antares and Soyuz Rockets

(From left) The Antares rocket with the Cygnus cargo spacecraft on top rests at its launch pad in Virginia. The Soyuz rocket that will carry three new crew members stands at its launch pad in Kazakhstan.

Launch day has arrived for the Cygnus cargo craft which is scheduled to liftoff aboard the Orbital ATK Antares rocket today at 7:40 p.m. EDT. Two days later, three new crew members will launch aboard a Soyuz rocket for a two-day trip to the International Space Station.

Watch the launch on NASA TV… https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Cygnus will wait for the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft to dock on Friday before it approaches the station Sunday for capture and installation to the Harmony module. Cygnus is delivering about 2,400 kilograms of crew supplies and research.

Meanwhile, the three orbiting Expedition 49 crew members stayed busy with life science research, lab maintenance and cargo packing.

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi took body measurements to determine the impacts microgravity has on body size. Rubins also explored how skin ages quicker in space while Onishi attached electrodes to himself to analyze his heart function. The duo also reviewed Cygnus approach and rendezvous procedures.

Commander Anatoly Ivanishin looked at wide variety of Russian research including nutrition and pain thresholds in space. The veteran cosmonaut also began loading cargo for his crew’s return home at the end of October.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Orbital ATK Launch Postponed 24 Hours

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The Orbital ATK Antares rocket

The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, is seen on launch Pad-0A during sunrise, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016 at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Today’s launch of Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket is postponed  24 hours  due to a ground support equipment (GSE) cable that did not perform as expected during the pre-launch check out. We have spares on hand and rework procedures are in process. The Antares and Cygnus teams are not currently working any technical issues with the rocket or the spacecraft.

The launch is now scheduled for October 17 at 7:40 p.m. EDT.

U.S. Cargo Craft Waits at Virginia Launch Pad

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The Orbital ATK Antares rocket

The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, is raised into vertical position at its launch pad Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The Orbital ATK Antares rocket rolled out to its launch pad in Virginia Thursday night carrying the American-made Cygnus cargo craft. Cygnus is scheduled to launch no earlier than Sunday at 8:03 p.m. EDT.

If Cygnus launches on time it will arrive at the station Wednesday morning and deliver about 2,400 kilograms of crew supplies and research. Cygnus will depart in late November and deploy a set of weather monitoring nanosatellites before conducting the Saffire-II internal combustion experiment.

Back in space, astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi collected blood samples and spun them in a centrifuge before stowing them in a science freezer. Samples are collected before, during and after missions then analyzed by doctors to understand the effects of living in space on humans. Current human research experiments using the sample data include Biochem Profile, Cardio Ox and Repository.

Onishi also scanned his neck, thigh and heart with an ultrasound then checked his blood pressure. The biomedical study from Canada observes heart and blood vessel changes with results potentially improving health on Earth and in space.

Russia’s Progress 63 space freighter undocked from the International Space Station early Friday morning and burned up safely over the Pacific Ocean a few hours later. It will be replaced by a Progress 63 cargo craft in early December.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

NASA Eyes Storm as Next Crew Counts Down to Launch

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Expedition 49-50 Crew Members

Expedition 49-50 crew members conduct a dress rehearsal Oct. 8, 2016, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

NASA and Orbital ATK mission managers are tracking Hurricane Nicole before finalizing a Cygnus cargo craft launch to the International Space Station no earlier than Oct. 16. Officials are securing a spacecraft tracking station in the Bermudas and monitoring the facility threatened by the category three storm.

Two astronauts – Kate Rubins from the United States and Takuya Onishi from Japan – are getting ready for Cygnus’ planned arrival next week. The two Expedition 49 flight engineers checked out video and robotics gear today and discussed cargo operations with ground controllers.

The duo also teamed up for ultrasound scans of their arteries and blood pressure checks. Doctors will use the observations from the Cardio Ox study to understand the cardiovascular risk of living in space. Commander Anatoly Ivanishin explored ionized gases produced by high temperatures, also known as plasmas, potentially helping engineers design future spacecraft

Meanwhile on the other side of the world, a new space station crew is counting down to an Oct. 19 launch aboard the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov will take a two-day trip inside the upgraded Soyuz to their new home in space. The trio are in final mission preparations in Kazakhstan where they will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

NASA, Orbital ATK Set Cygnus Launch for Oct. 13

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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.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Cygnus Training Under Way Before Launch Set

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Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew (eye at top center) was pictured from the space station on the afternoon of Oct. 3, 2016. Credit: @Space_Station

The Expedition 49 crew is getting ready for the mid-October arrival of the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft. The trio is also exploring human research and setting up a student Earth observation experiment.

First-time astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi are brushing up on the robotic capture techniques necessary to grapple the Cygnus cargo craft. The Cygnus private space freighter is targeted to launch from Virginia between Oct. 9 and 13 and arrive at the International Space Station about 2-1/2 days later.

The duo will be inside the cupola at the robotics controls monitoring Cygnus’ arrival then capturing it with the 57.7 foot long Canadarm2. Ground controllers will then take over robotic operations and remotely attach Cygnus to the Unity module. Cygnus is delivering crew supplies, scientific research and hardware to the station crew members.

Before the pair began training today, Rubins sampled the station’s water for microbes and stowed the Hard to Wet Surfaces research gear. Onishi tested his fine motor skills on a mobile tablet device and logged his diet for the ENERGY experiment.

Commander Anatoly Ivanishin set up the Sally Ride EarthKAM experiment inside a Harmony module window today. The Earth imagery gear allows students to take pictures of Earth from space and share them on the internet.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

NASA and Orbital ATK Prepping for Mid-October Cargo Mission

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Cygnus Spacecraft Before Capture

The Cygnus spacecraft is pictured before its capture Dec. 9, 2015 at the International Space Station.

Mission managers are targeting the Oct. 9-13 timeframe for the launch of the sixth Orbital ATK resupply mission to the International Space Station. A pair of astronauts onboard the station are also training for the robotic capture of the Cygnus resupply ship from Orbital ATK when it arrives about two days after launch.

Cygnus’ primary mission is to deliver about 2,400 kilograms of supplies and science experiments to the Expedition 49 crew. When Cygnus departs the station about a month later it will participate in secondary missions including combustion research and deploying CubeSats for weather forecasting before reentering Earth’s atmosphere.

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi called down to ground controllers today to review and train for next month’s planned arrival of the Cygnus. The duo will be in the cupola monitoring the Cygnus’ rendezvous and approach before grappling and installing the spacecraft with Canada’s robotic arm Canadarm2.

The duo also collected saliva samples for stowage in a science freezer and participated in body mass measurements. Commander Anatoly Ivanishin explored new ways to detect pressure leaks on the space station and continued more research into charged particle systems in magnetic fields.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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