Cygnus Spacecraft Prepares for Rendezvous With International Space Station

Cygnus Space Freighter

File photo of a Cygnus space freighter. Credit: NASA

After launching on an Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility at 5:32 a.m. EST (2:32 a.m. PST) on November 7, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft has successfully deployed one of its two solar arrays and completed four rendezvous burns on its way to the International Space Station (ISS). To remain focused on the spacecraft’s arrival at the ISS, NASA and Northrop Grumman made the determination not to deploy the second solar array after initial attempts to deploy it were unsuccessful. The Cygnus team continues to gather information on why the second array did not deploy as planned.

With just the single solar array, Cygnus still has sufficient power to rendezvous with the space station on Wednesday, November 9. Northrop Grumman is working closely with NASA to monitor and assess the spacecraft ahead of tomorrow’s planned arrival, capture, and installation at the space station. Mission teams also are planning additional inspections of the cargo spacecraft during approach and after capture.

NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and capture will begin at 3:30 a.m. EST (12:30 a.m. PST) followed by installation coverage at 7:15 a.m. At about 5:05 a.m., Expedition 68 NASA astronaut Nicole Mann will capture Cygnus with the station’s robotic arm, with NASA astronaut Josh Cassada acting as backup. After Cygnus capture, ground commands will be sent from mission control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the station’s Unity module Earth-facing port.

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