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Orbital ATK spacecraft arrives at International Space Station

“S.S. Gene Cernan” CygnusTM spacecraft completes its rendezvous with the International Space Station. Courtesy Photo/Orbital ATK
The latest spacecraft to be launched into orbit by Dulles-based Orbital ATK has successfully completed its rendezvous with the International Space Station.

The S.S. Gene Cernan CygnusTM spacecraft's successful completion of its rendezvous and berthing maneuvers marks the company's eighth successful berthing with the station.

Cygnus launched into orbit aboard an Orbital ATK Antares rocket at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Sunday. The spacecraft then executed a series of thruster burns over the next couple of days to raise its orbit and reach the space station.

Once Cygnus was in close range, crew members grappled the spacecraft with the station’s robotic arm, according to company officials. Cygnus was then guided to its berthing port and officially installed to the space station at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Cygnus arrived at the station with approximately 7,400 pounds of cargo, supplies and scientific experiments. The crew is now scheduled to open Cygnus’ hatch to begin unloading the pressurized cargo.

Frank Culbertson, president of Orbital ATK’s Space Systems Group, said Cygnus has proved its capability beyond cargo delivery and removal.

“On this mission, the ‘S.S. Gene Cernan’ Cygnus will act as an extension of the space station for the first time by supporting science experiments inside the cargo module while docked to the laboratory,” Culbertson said. “Cygnus will then begin its secondary mission to deploy a record number of cubesats that will further demonstrate the spacecraft’s versatility and flexibility for our customers.”

Cygnus will remain docked at the station for approximately three weeks.


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