Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cygnus Completes its First Mission to ISS

The Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo craft has completed its first resupply mission to the International Space Station, burning up in the Earth's atmosphere on February 19 after spending over a month docked to the station.
Cygnus was released by Canadarm2 at 11:41 a.m. Irish Time

Expedition 38 flight engineers Koichi Wakata and Mike Hopkins, working from the Cupola, used the station's 57 foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach Cygnus from the Earth facing port of the Harmony Module and manipulate it into a position for release.

Hopkins, who is making his first space flight, took control of Canadarm2, before releasing Cygnus at 11:41 a.m. Irish Time, as the station flew 260 miles above the Atlantic Ocean.

Now loaded with trash and other unwanted items the crew no longer needed, Wakata and Hopkins commanded Cygnus to perform a 90 second departure burn to move a safe distance away from the ISS.

Cygnus, which is named after the late Gordon C. Fullerton, performed a series of orbital maneuvers and de-orbit burns on Wednesday, before burning up in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean later that evening.

With the departure of Cygnus, attention turns to the next launch of a cargo ship from US soil. The Space X Dragon capsule will make its third resupply flight to the International Space Station, with the launch of Space X-3 from Cape Canaveral on March 16.

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