Monday, July 14, 2014

Cygnus Launches on Second Mission to ISS

The Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft has launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, destined for the International Space Station.

Orb-2 or Cygnus, which is just after launching atop an Antares rocket on its second official resupply mission to the orbital laboratory, lifted off of Launch Pad 0A at 5:52 p.m. Irish Time today(July 13). The cargo craft is carrying a little under 1.500 kilograms of cargo, supplies and spare parts to the ISS.
Orbital Sciences Cygnus launches from Wallops on its Orb-2 mission to the ISS.

Launch of Orb-2 was originally scheduled for July 11. However, poor weather conditions at Wallops delayed the scheduled rollout of the Antares rocket, with launch scheduled for Saturday(July 12). However, the launch was postponed once again by one day due to further adverse weather conditions at the launch site.

Provided all goes according to plan, Cygnus will carry out a series of orbital maneuvers and burns, adjusting its orbit so that it can rendezvous with the station on July 16.

Traveling at 5 miles a second and working from the station's robotics workstation in the Cupola, Expedition 40 commander Steve Swanson, assisted by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, will be in charge of grappling the spacecraft using the station's 57 foot-long robotic arm, Canadarm2. Cygnus is expected to be grappled at 11:37 a.m. Robotics teams on the ground will then berth Cygnus to the Earth facing port of the Harmony Module a few hours later.

Expedition 40 crew members running test captures ahead of Cygnus' arrival
Just some of Orbital-2's cargo include 28 Cubesats, which are small, inexpensive satellites that can be used for Earth imaging and disaster monitoring. Also on board is a satellite related investigation, and some student experiments that will be unpacked by the astronauts aboard the International Space Station, further enhancing the station's scientific and technological capabilities.

Cygnus is expected to remain docked to the station for around a month, before being unberthed and released by Canadarm2, destined for a fiery demise by burning up in the Earth's atmosphere.

This is Irish Space Blog.

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