Cygnus Rendezvous With ISS Delayed Until Saturday

By  //  September 24, 2013

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iss crew has off-duty day

ABOVE VIDEO: Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Cygnus cargo craft launched aboard the company’s Antares rocket from Wallops Flight Facility on a demonstration mission to the International Space Station. 

UPDATE: SEPT. 24, 2013, 10:30 a.m.

Cygnus installed in the CVC for transport to Building V-55. (orbital.com image)

Cygnus installed in the CVC for transport to Building V-55. (orbital.com image)

This morning, Orbital and NASA together decided to postpone the approach, rendezvous, grapple and berthing operations of the Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft with the International Space Station until after the upcoming Soyuz crew operations are complete. The Soyuz crew is due to arrive at the ISS very late on Wednesday, September 25. The earliest possible date for the next Cygnus approach and rendezvous with the ISS would be Saturday, September 28. An exact schedule will be determined following the successful completion of Soyuz operations.

Over the past 24 hours, the Orbital team developed and tested a software fix for the data format mismatch that necessitated a postponement of the first rendezvous operation that was scheduled for the early morning of September 22. However, that process, together with the impending Soyuz crew operations, resulted in a tight schedule to the point that both Orbital and NASA felt it was the right decision to postpone the Cygnus approach and rendezvous until after Soyuz operations.

“This new schedule will allow the Orbital operations team to carefully plan and be well-rested before restarting the critical final approach to the space station. Meanwhile, Cygnus has all the resources needed to remain in orbit for an extended period of time,” said Mr. Frank Culbertson, Orbital’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Advanced Programs Group.

UPDATE: SEPT. 23, 2013, 12:30 a.m.

Following the discovery of a data format discrepancy between an on-board International Space Station (ISS) navigation system and a similar system on Cygnus, Sunday’s rendezvous with the station was postponed.

Artist rendering of Cygnus spacecraft at the ISS. (orbital.com image)

Artist rendering of Cygnus spacecraft at the ISS. (orbital.com image)

NASA and Orbital Sciences Corporation are developing a detailed plan for a second rendezvous attempt early Tuesday morning.

A software update has been developed and will be tested on a ground-based simulator during the day on Sunday. Upload to Cygnus and in-orbit testing of the software “patch” is planned for Sunday night and into Monday morning.

Once this has been accomplished and verified, the current plan is for Cygnus to begin a second rendezvous approach late Monday night, with final approach to the ISS and grapple taking place early Tuesday morning. The Cygnus spacecraft remains healthy, with all major subsystems operating as expected.

OFF DUTY DAY FOR ISS CREW

Following a 48-hour delay of the rendezvous of Orbital Sciences Corporation‘s Cygnus spacecraft with the International Space Station, the Expedition 37 crew members aboard the space station now will have an off-duty day in advance of a busy week ahead. This includes Tuesday’s Cygnus rendezvous, followed by preparations for the arrival of three new crew members Wednesday.

ORIGINAL POST: SEPT. 18, 2013, 12:20 p.m.

Cygnus Cargo Rocket To Rendezvous With ISS Sunday

NASA.gov – While the newest commercial cargo vehicle to join the International Space Station’s resupply fleet launched Wednesday morning on its demonstration flight, the Expedition 37 crew aboard the orbiting complex was hard at work with medical research, emergency simulation training and preparations for Sunday’s arrival of the new space freighter.

NASA commercial space partner Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., launches its Cygnus cargo spacecraft aboard its Antares rocket at 10:58 a.m. EDT Wednesday.

NASA commercial space partner Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., launches its Cygnus cargo spacecraft aboard its Antares rocket at 10:58 a.m. EDT Wednesday.

NASA commercial space partner Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., launched its Cygnus cargo spacecraft aboard its Antares rocket at 10:58 a.m. EDT Wednesday from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. At the time of launch, the space station was flying about 261 miles above the southern Indian Ocean. Cygnus will rendezvous with the station on Sunday on its demonstration mission to deliver 1,300 pounds of cargo, including food and clothing, to the space station’s Expedition 37 crew.

All three Expedition 37 crew members — Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano — gathered around a laptop computer screen in the station’s Destiny laboratory to watch a live video stream of the launch of Cygnus. Nyberg then sent her congratulations to Orbital Sciences via her Twitter account, @AstroKarenN.

The Expedition 37 crew gathers in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station to watch the launch of the Cygnus cargo craft atop its Antares rocket. (NASA image)

The Expedition 37 crew gathers in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station to watch the launch of the Cygnus cargo craft atop its Antares rocket. (NASA image)

Nyberg and Parmitano began their workday aboard the space station reviewing Cygnus’ cargo manifest and discussing with ground teams the plan to unload the cargo.  During the month that Cygnus is berthed to the station, the crew will unload its 1,300 pounds of cargo and reload it with trash for disposal when Cygnus departs for a destructive re-entry in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The two astronauts then moved on to some on-board training to review the installation procedure for Cygnus. When Cygnus nears the station on Sunday, Parmitano, with assistance from Nyberg, will use the robotics workstation in the cupola to command the station’s 57-foot robotic arm, Canadarm2, to reach out and grapple the vehicle. He will then maneuver the arm to guide Cygnus to its docking port on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony node for installation.

EXPEDITION 37 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

All three Expedition 37 crew members participated in on-board training to review their roles and responsibilities in the event of an emergency aboard the station such as a fire or rapid depressurization. Afterward, they tagged up with flight controllers at Mission Control in Houston to review the drill and discuss any changes needed.

Nyberg and Parmitano wrapped up their workday with another round of medical tests for the Ocular Health study as they used a fundoscope to examine each other’s eyes in detail. Vision changes have been observed in some astronauts returning from long-duration spaceflight, and flight surgeons are seeking to learn more about its root causes and develop countermeasures to minimize this risk.


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