Menu
Private company launches spacecraft for space station rendezvous

Private company launches spacecraft for space station rendezvous

Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft set to dock with ISS on Sunday

Hours after liftoff today, Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft is flying at 17,500 mph as it races to rendezvous with the International Space Station.

Loaded with 1,300 pounds of supplies, including food and clothing for the astronauts, the unmanned spacecraft launched 10:58 a.m. ET from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia. It is set to rendezvous with the space station, which flies about 260 miles above Earth, on Sunday.

Shortly after launch, the spacecraft separated from the Antares rocket that carried it aloft and its two power-generating solar arrays successfully deployed.

"This is just the beginning of what we can do to support human space flight," Orbital Sciences tweeted Frank Culbertson, its executive vice president and former NASA astronaut, as saying earlier today.

If all goes well with the resupply mission, NASA will have two commercial companies that it can tap to carry supplies to the the space station.

NASA's long-running space shuttle fleet is officially retired, and the space agency is dependent on a young commercial space industry to ferry supplies, and eventually astronauts, to the space station.

In May, SpaceX became the first commercial company to launch a spacecraft that docked with the space station. The company launched its own test flight in 2012 and was approved to run regular resupply missions.

If all goes well for Orbital Sciences, based in Dulles, Va., it will be similarly approved.

Several of the spacecraft's systems and capabilities will be tested during Cygnus' journey to the space station. When the space station flight control team verifies the test results, Cygnus will be cleared to approach the orbiter.

Once it's within close range of the space station, an astronaut will use the station's robotic arms to grab the Cygnus and then dock it.

This article, Private company launches spacecraft to space station rendezvous, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Read more about government/industries in Computerworld's Government/Industries Topic Center.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmenthardwarehardware systemsNASAGovernment/IndustriesIndustriesSpaceX

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments