Cygnus Departs ISS on October 22

Cygnus Departs ISS on October 22

Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft will depart from the International Space Station (ISS) on October 22.  That will bring to an end this demonstration mission as part of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program and signal the beginning of Orbital’s operational Commercial Resupply Services (CRS).

Cygnus was launched on September 18 by Orbital’s Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the coast of Virginia.  It was berthed to ISS on September 29.  NASA TV will cover the departure of Cygnus from the ISS beginning at 7:00 am Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on October 22.  Orbital’s first operational CRS mission is scheduled for December. 

SpaceX is the other U.S. company that provides CRS services for the ISS using its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft. 

Cygnus and Dragon are the two U.S. cargo spacecraft for ISS.  Russia, Europe and Japan also provide cargo resupply missions as part of the partnership agreement for ISS.  Europe’s ATV-4 is also currently docked with ISS.   It will depart on October 28 and NASA TV will cover that as well.  ATV-4 departure coverage begins at 4:45 am EDT on October 28.  

Neither Cygnus nor ATV are designed to survive reentry.  Both will be filled with trash by the ISS crew and the spacecraft and trash will disintegrate in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Of all the cargo spacecraft used to resupply ISS, only SpaceX’s Dragon returns to Earth’s surface.  Cygnus, ATV, Japan’s HTV and Russia’s Progress all burn up during reentry.


User Comments has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.