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

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora