Crew Gets Ready for Cygnus Arrival Today

NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren
NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren takes images of the Earth on Dec. 1, 2015 from the Cupola. Lindgren will operate the Canadarm2 from inside the Cupola to capture Cygnus.

Aboard the International Space Station, NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren is making final preparations for the arrival of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo vehicle. NASA Television is providing live coverage, which also can be seen online at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Lindgren will command the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, to reach out and capture the Cygnus. Capture is scheduled for approximately 6:10 a.m. EST. The Cygnus launched aboard an Atlas V rocket at 4:44 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Since then, the spacecraft has performed a series of engine burns to fine-tune its course for arrival at the station.

The unpiloted cargo craft, named S.S. Deke Slayton II, in honor of the late NASA astronaut, Donald “Deke” K. Slayton, is loaded with more than 7,000 pounds of research and supplies, including water, spare parts and experiment hardware, for the six-person International Space Station crew.

Follow the conversation on Twitter via @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

Cygnus Safely in Orbit and Headed to Space Station

Cygnus Ascent into Space
Commander Scott Kelly saw the Cygnus spacecraft heading to space Sunday after its launch from Florida at 4:44 p.m. EST/9:44 p.m. UTC. He photographed the spacecraft rising above the Earth’s horizon from the International Space Station and posted it to Twitter. Credit: @StationCDRKelly

At 6:04 p.m. EST, the twin UltraFlex solar arrays of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft completed deployment. All of Cygnus’ systems are reported in excellent shape.

The spacecraft is set to arrive at the International Space Station on Wednesday, Dec. 9. NASA crew members Kjell Lindgren and Scott Kelly will use the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and capture Cygnus at about 6:10 a.m. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and grapple of Cygnus will begin at 4:45 a.m.

To join the online conversation about the Orbital ATK CRS-4 launch and the International Space Station on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and #Cygnus.

Cygnus Launches on Delivery Mission to Space Station

The Atlas V Rocket Launches
The Atlas V Rocket launches from Florida carrying the Cygnus spacecraft in to orbit. Credit: NASA TV

Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft lifted off at 4:44 p.m. EST on top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket en route to the International Space Station. At the time of launch, the International Space Station was traveling over the Atlantic Ocean, north of Bermuda.

The cargo includes dozens of science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 45 and 46.

Favorable Weather for Cygnus Liftoff Today at 70% Chance

Atlas V Rocket with Cygnus Spacecraft
The Atlas V rocket with the Cygnus spacecraft on top is seen at the launch pad. Credit: ULA

For the latest Orbital ATK mission information visit the NASA Orbital blog here… https://blogs.nasa.gov/orbital

Countdown is continuing for today’s scheduled launch of the fourth Orbital ATK commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The Cygnus spacecraft is set to lift off on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying more than 7,000 pounds of supplies and science investigations. The chance for favorable weather at the 4:44 p.m. EST liftoff is 70 percent.

Winds at the launch site have dropped dramatically in recent hours, but are predicted to increase slightly through the launch window.

NASA television coverage has begun and can be seen at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv. Significant countdown milestones are below.

The cargo includes dozens of science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 45 and 46. Science payloads 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.

For a mission overview, press kit, launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/orbitalatk.

To join the online conversation about the Orbital ATK CRS-4 launch and the International Space Station on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and the hashtag #Cygnus.

Launch Managers Push Third Cygnus Launch Attempt to Sunday

Atlas V Rocket and Cygnus Spacecraft
The Atlas V Rocket with the Cygnus spacecraft on top stands at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launch pad in Florida. Credit: United Launch Alliance

For the latest Orbital ATK mission information visit the NASA Orbital blog here… https://blogs.nasa.gov/orbital

Launch managers deferred a Saturday launch opportunity due to high wind conditions expected to violate launch rules during the window. The new launch time is Sunday, Dec. 6 at 4:44 p.m. EST for the fourth Orbital ATK commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The forecast for Sunday improves to 40 percent chance of favorable weather.

The Cygnus spacecraft will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage Sunday will begin at 3:45 p.m.

Cygnus is loaded with more than 7,000 pounds of supplies and science and research investigations. 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.

For a mission overview, press kit, launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/orbitalatk.

To join the online conversation about the Orbital ATK CRS-4 launch and the International Space Station on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and #Cygnus.

Cygnus Set for Third Launch Attempt on Saturday

Cygnus Spacecraft Rests at Launch Pad
The Cygnus spacecraft rests at the launch pad in Florida after wind gusts exceeded permissible levels for today’s scheduled liftoff. Credit: NASA TV

For the latest Orbital ATK mission information visit the NASA Orbital blog here… https://blogs.nasa.gov/orbital

Launch managers have set Saturday, Dec. 5 at 5:10 p.m. EST for the next launch attempt of the fourth Orbital ATK commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. NASA Television coverage will begin at 4 p.m. Earlier this evening, the 30-minute launch window tomorrow had a 30 percent chance of acceptable conditions.

The Cygnus is loaded with more than 7,000 pounds of supplies and science and research investigations that are important to advancing NASA’s exploration goals on the journey to Mars, demonstrating technologies that drive innovation, and providing benefits to Earth.

A launch on Saturday would result in Cygnus arriving at the station on Wednesday, Dec. 9, for a grapple at 6:10 a.m.

For NASA’s launch blog with ongoing updates, a mission overview, press kit, launch countdown coverage, and more information about the mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/orbitalatk

To join the online conversation about the Orbital ATK CRS-4 launch and the International Space Station on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and #Cygnus.

Cygnus Countdown Continues Amid Weather Concerns

Cygnus at the Lainchpad
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft is at the launch pad in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

For the latest Orbital ATK mission information visit the NASA Orbital blog here… https://blogs.nasa.gov/orbital

Countdown is continuing and progressing smoothly for today’s scheduled launch at 5:33 p.m. EST of the fourth Orbital ATK commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Fueling operations have begun. Today’s 30-minute launch window now has a 40 percent chance of acceptable conditions. The primary concern is that wind speed is trending higher, along with continued cumulus clouds, thick clouds, and ground winds.

The Cygnus spacecraft is set to lift off on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying more than 7,000 pounds of supplies and science investigations.

NASA television coverage will begin at 4:30 p.m. and can be seen at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv. Significant countdown milestones are below.

The cargo includes dozens of science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 45 and 46. For a mission overview, press kit, launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/orbitalatk

To join the online conversation about the Orbital ATK CRS-4 launch and the International Space Station on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and #Cygnus.

Orbital ATK Countdown & Launch Highlights

EST                        Event

3:03 p.m.               T-2 hours and counting

Pressurize Centaur liquid oxygen storage tank to chill down level

Start Atlas liquid oxygen ground chill down

Start Centaur bottle pressurization to flight level

Pressurize Atlas RP-1 tank to step II

3:13 p.m.                Start Centaur liquid oxygen transfer line chill down

3:20 p.m.                Begin Centaur liquid oxygen tanking

3:33 p.m.                Start Atlas liquid oxygen tanking operations

3:38 p.m.                Start Centaur liquid hydrogen transfer line chill down

3:53 p.m.                Initiate Centaur engine chill down

4:08 p.m.                Start flight control final preparations

4:23 p.m.                Start flight open loop Flight Termination System test

4:30 p.m.                NASA Television Coverage Begins

4:47 p.m.                Initiate fuel fill sequence

4:59 p.m.                Begin 30 minute hold at T-4 Minutes

5:03 p.m.                Weather Briefing

5:26 p.m.                Status check to continue countdown

5:29:11 p.m.           T-4 Minutes and counting

5:33:08 p.m.           RD-180 engine ignition

5:33:11 p.m.           Launch

5:33:29 p.m.           Begin pitch/yaw/roll maneuver

5:34:33 p.m.           Mach 1

5:34:44 p.m.           Maximum Dynamic Pressure

5:37:26 p.m.           Atlas booster engine cutoff (BECO)

5:37:32 p.m.           Atlas booster/Centaur separation

5:37:42 p.m.           Centaur first main engine start (MES1)

5:37:50 p.m.           Payload Fairing jettison

5:51:27 p.m.           Centaur first main engine cutoff (MECO1)

5:54:16 p.m.           Cygnus spacecraft separation

~6:33 p.m.              Cygnus solar array deploy

~7:33 p.m.              Post-Launch News Conference on NASA Television

Station Crew Getting Ready for Heavy Traffic Before Christmas

International Current Space Station Configuration
The current space station configuration has two Soyuz crew spacecraft and two Progress resupply ships docked at the orbital laboratory. View the station overview page.

Crews and cargo shipments will be coming and going at the International Space Station during a busy December in space. Two resupply ships will arrive, one cargo craft will leave and an Expedition 45 trio will head home before an Expedition 46 trio replaces it.

Commander Scott Kelly teamed up with Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren for more robotics training before the Dec. 3 launch and Dec. 6 arrival of the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft. When Cygnus arrives it will be captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm and berthed to the Unity module.

Meanwhile, Lindgren along with Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui and Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko are preparing for their Dec. 11 landing. On the ground in Russia, their Expedition 46 replacements Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko and Flight Engineers Timothy Kopra and Timothy Peake are counting down to their Dec. 15 launch. A docked Progress 61 resupply ship will fire its engines Wednesday raising the station’s orbit to accommodate the mid-December crew swap.

The Cygnus cargo craft is in Florida at the Kennedy Space Center being processed before its early December launch atop an Atlas V rocket. Russia’s Progress 60 (60P) cargo craft will undock from the Pirs docking compartment Dec. 19. A new Progress 62 resupply ship will replace the 60P when it arrives at Pirs Dec. 23.