The Cygnus cargo spacecraft S.S. Alan Poindexter that carried supplies to the International Space Station has been received at the ISS on Sunday, Oct 23.
Carrying more than 5,100 pounds of supplies and science gear, the spaceship arrived at the ISS where six crew members are present.
According to reports, the cargo spaceship was received by the ISS and was captured by a robotic arm at 7:28 a.m. EDT. In terms of design, a Cygnus spacecraft cannot dock by itself. That is why the station's robotic arm was required in latching the spacecraft closer to the station.
Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi used the 57-foot Canadarm2 in pulling Cygnus to the ISS on Sunday morning, where he was backed by American astronaut Kate Rubins.
"Cygnus capture is complete," Onishi announced to mission control. "What a beautiful vehicle."
At 10:53 a.m. EDT, flight controllers at the mission control center in Houston took command of Canadarm2 to guide Cygnus to its berthing port on the Unity module.
Developed by Orbital ATK under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program, the cargo spacecraft Cygnus has a Greek name meaning swan, and is also the name of a constellation.
What The Cargo Contains
The cargo contains food and clothing aside from computer equipment and other items necessary to conduct experiments on the behavior of fire in space. The delivery also comes with materials that will help ISS crew members gather personal data on medications, sleep and exercise patterns as well as nutrition for the benefit of researchers.
The equipment for "Cool Flames" experiment is important as it studies fuels that burn at low temperatures and are influenced by microgravity to generate combustion without discernible flames.
The also cargo carries a Fast Neutron Spectrometer, which is used to monitor high-energy neutrons to address the radiation threat for space crews heading into the solar system, as well as LED lighting units, which will help the ISS crew install lights of a variable intensity to replace fluorescent lights. This will also improve living conditions at the station, letting crew members get better sleep and higher alert levels.
After the ISS crew unloads the cargo, Cygnus will be filled with trash from the ISS and released. It will burn up during its re-entry in Earth's atmosphere over the South Pacific Ocean by late November.
Tech Times previously reported that the ISS also received a special cargo in March as an Easter treat.
Launch Of Cygnus Spacecraft
S.S. Alan Poindexter is unique in many ways. The launch of the spacecraft from Wallops Island also marked the resumption of Antares rocket back in action after a lull when it exploded during a launch in 2014.
"While all of our missions are important to us, the OA-5 mission is distinct and special to the entire Orbital ATK team," Frank Culbertson, president of Orbital ATK's Space Systems Group said.