News / Science & Technology

Cygnus Spacecraft Brings Cargo to ISS Astronauts

Cygnus Spacecraft Brings Cargo to ISS Astronautsi
X
September 30, 2013 5:41 AM
A privately-owned spacecraft named Cygnus successfully docked with the International Space Station on Sunday, becoming the second such craft to do so. The docking came a week later than planned, in part due to a software issue and traffic at the orbiting station.

Cygnus Spacecraft Brings Cargo to ISS Astronauts

Suzanne Presto
A privately-owned spacecraft named Cygnus successfully docked with the International Space Station on Sunday, becoming the second such craft to do so.  The docking came a week later than planned, in part due to a software issue and traffic at the orbiting station.
 
The unmanned Cygnus spacecraft was drifting near the International Space Station, as planned, when Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency used the space station's robotic Canada-arm to grab the cargo capsule. Astronauts then used the Canada-arm to connect the capsule to the orbiting lab.  And with that, Virginia-based Orbital Sciences became the second U.S. company to show it can resupply the ISS.

It's a feat that had only been accomplished by a handful of governments until just last year, when the California-based company SpaceX made history by docking its Dragon spacecraft.  Orbital now joins SpaceX as a private provider of cargo resupply services.

"Today we delivered more cargo on a commercial basis than has ever been delivered to the space station - 700 kilograms," said former NASA astronaut and executive vice president of Orbital Sciences Frank Culbertson, who spoke at a NASA briefing later Sunday.  "And I know the crew is going to be very happy when they get the hatch open and get a chance to see all the things that are in there and obviously the things that will keep their mission going."    

Cargo included food, clothing and science experiments.

Watch NASA video of Cygnus' arrival at the Space Station:



It wasn't always smooth sailing for this mission, even though the Cygnus spacecraft launched atop Orbital's Antares rocket with a picture perfect liftoff from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia on September 18.  The rendezvous with the space station had to be postponed when a data formatting issue between the Cygnus and the ISS emerged and required a software patch.  The delay was extended due to traffic congestion, as a Russian spacecraft carrying astronauts was set to reach the station on September 25.     

The United States is relying on private industry to ferry cargo to the station while NASA focuses on developing the next generation of spacecraft that can go to an asteroid or Mars.  The U.S. space agency acted as a lead investor in Orbital Sciences and SpaceX as they developed their crafts.     

NASA's Alan Lindenmoyer, manager of the Commercial Crew and Cargo Program, praised the public-private partnership.  He said the goals were to use NASA investments to kickstart the commercial space industry, and also to spur reliable, cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit and the space station.     

"And the third was to become a customer for these services once they emerged," he said. "I think we can say today conclusively that we've added another partner to the list that helped us achieve these goals 100 percent."  

NASA has awarded Orbital a $1.9 billion contract for resupply missions, the first of which is planned for December.  SpaceX already has started fulfilling its $1.6 billion contract.    

It's crucial for the U.S. to be able to reach the space station, says Orbital's Culbertson, something it has not been able to do since NASA retired its aging space shuttle fleet in 2011.   

"We know and understand and accept the responsibility this is critical to the continuation of the station and the continuation of U.S. leadership in space, as well as an international partnership that I think is a shining example of how nations can work together when they have the ability to let their engineers, their scientists, their operators and their professionals work together and get politics out of the way," he said.

Orbital's Cygnus spacecraft is designed to be filled with the station's trash and to burn up upon re-entering Earth's atmosphere.  Its planned undocking is set for October 22.

You May Like

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid