Northrop's Rocket Grumman Antares and Cygnus cargo carrier came into an orbit Saturday from Wallops Island, Virginia, when seeking the International Space Station with more than 7,200 tonnes of hardware and research provisions, the second launching of shipping vessels to & # 39; The space station in less than 24 hours.
The unplanned commercial cargo ship drove the 139-foot rooster (42.5-meter) from Antares away from the Central Atlantic Region Spaceport, a state-of-the-art facility located on the Atlantic coast of Wallops in Virginia Island.
The first phase of the Antares rocket, with fuel tanks built in Ukraine and Russian-181 machines run in Russia, drives the launcher into a clear outdoor with 864,000 pounds of oven. The Antares guide computer ordered the machines to lightly start, steering the rocket towards the southeast over Ocean Ocean to match the space station route.
Three minutes to half the flight, the first step was closed and separated, leaving the highest Antares platform – powered by a 30-LC Castor rocket motor built in the United States – to finish the acceleration of the Cygnus supply ship to orbit.
Cygnus spacecraft separated from the highest Antares step about nine minutes after a lift, reaching an on-target preliminary orbit to start a two-day attack on the space station, ending with the laboratory's robotic arm at 5:20 am EST (1020 GMT) Monday.
"Not only was this beautiful launch this morning, it was giving Cygnus exactly where we wanted to be an orbit," said Frank DeMauro, vice president of senior programs at Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, who developed and & # 39; n owned the Antares rocet at Cygnus space. "The spacecraft, after separation, we were able to communicate (with it) extremely rapidly and start conditioning. We started the system and the system of digestive system. All were checked & # 39 ; n very good.
"Then, the use of solar sets, which I am proud to report, have started to be successfully used and produces much and lots of power, so the spacecraft is extremely healthy and ready to start its trip to the ISS, "DeMauro said correspondents after its launch.
Cygnus spacecraft joined the Russian replenishment of an increase in orbit after its launch on Friday of Kazakhstan. The cargo capsule Increases to reach the space station with a docking at about 2:30 p.m. EST (1930 GMT) Sunday, and then capture Cygnus with the station's robotic crystalline on Monday.
The Antares launch in Virginia has dropped two days by rainy weather.
"While we were staying on the weather out here in Wallops, we had an incredible incremental launch out of Baikonur, Kazakhstan on Friday," said Joel Montalbano, NASA's proxy spokeswoman proxy program manager. "We're looking forward to seeing the two vehicles attached to the International Space Station and the crew who work on them get the science, get the research, getting the All the equipment we have bought on these vehicles, and continuing with the great work we're doing on the International Space Station. "
Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA's astronomers on the robotic branch controls of the Canadian-led station will take up Cygnus cargo card on Monday. She joined the Alexander Gerst and Russian Cosmonaut European Space Agency assistant Sergey Prokopyev on the 250 mile orbiting (400km) road above Earth.
There were two additional members of the crew to be on the station, but it was launched to be erased two minutes after raising October 11 on the Soyuz rocket board of Kazakhstan. Alexey Ovchinin, Ranger of Soyuz and NASA's astrons, has landed safely down the launch crisis.
He left the station crash with a crew of three people for longer than expected weeks, until three new crew members were launching on another Soyuz December 3. Gerst tour and the company will leave the station in their Soyuz landing craft , December 20, leaving the three residents who have just arrived in an orbit until another Soyuz crew arrives in the spring.
With only three people on the station – rather than five or six typical – Montalbano said that some research activities had been restated, but operations were not really affected.
"Along with science, with two fewer people … you will do a bit less of activities on the board, but just for a short time, and in fact members of the crew on the board have pick up, and they've been really working hard and collecting the things that they have to do, "he said. "Any critical or critical criticism of research, which is being done, and we are reprioritizing other activities, so from that perspective, we do it well. okay. "
The Cygnus supply ship on the NG-10 cargo mission – provides 7,215 pounds (3,273km) of supplies and experiments to the space station, including a plastic recycler and 3D printer built to promote internal manufacturing capabilities, and experiments that study how the human body's ability to detect movement, orientation and distance changes in micrography.
The recycler and printer, of the name Refabricator, is a technology demo that has aimed at analyzing how future space trips could produce spare parts and equipment on the board, without having to replenish from Earth. I've been developed by Tethers Unlimited under a contract to NASA.
"In Tethers, the Refabricator was developed, developed and tested," said Allison Porter, a airline manager in the company that has located near Seattle. "In essence, we dissolve polymers and make a 3D printer filament … Once the Refabricator is recycling and making a new filament, we can print new parts."
The space station already has a 3D printer on the board provided by a company called Made in Space. But that device, which is intended as proof-of-concept for 3D printing in space, requires a new Earth source to feed into.
"When all the results were, we realized that there were no engineering effects on engineering," said Diane Risdon, the leader of the In-Space Manufacturing Reabricator at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. "So we now have our 3D printer, we know that it works in space. The next thing is where we get the filament? … Do we have to upload that? We are trying Avoid large masses being uploaded, so we need to find a sustainable source for filament.
"On the ISS, we know there are many people and lots of plastic bags," he said. "The crew complain, what do we do with each of these bags? They also have packaging – plastic packaging – they use food plastics containers, devices plastic medicine, so they collect all this rubbish and burn in space from time to time.
"We think, well, our resource is," said Risdon. "If we can recycle these, then we're on our way to get our filament."
Another science investigation on board Cygnus spacecraft will examine the processes on the origin of the solar system that led to the formation of dust particles that came into larger objects, leading to the birth of the planets. The experiment, led by researchers at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, "zaps have formed a special electrical current dust and then studying shape and texture of pellets formed from these stages in the absence of gravity, "according to NASA's overview of the investigation.
Here is an analysis of cargo exposure provided by NASA:
- 2.515.5 pounds (1,141 kilograms) of crew supplies
- 2,301.6 pounds (1,044 kilograms) of science investigations
- 2,076.8 pounds (942km) of vehicle hardware
- 253.5 pounds (115kg) of computer resources
- 68.3 pounds (31 kilograms) of space equipment
It is expected that the Cygnus supply ship will continue to be part of the International Space Station Unity module until mid-February, when released by the station's robotic arm.
After loading with rubbish after leaving the station, Cygnus will fire its machine to climb to an over 300 mile (500km) above Earth orbit to use two CubeSats.
One of the nanosatellites is MYSat 1, CubeSat 1U around Rubik's cube size. Holding two pay charges – camera and battery-friendly battery – MYSat 1 was built by the Masdar Science and Technology Institute in Abu Dhabi with the support of Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems and Al Yah Satellite Communications Company in the United Arab Emirates.
The other CubeSat set to release in the higher orbit is CHEFSat 2 of the US Naval Research Laboratory.
About the size of a boot box, CHEFSat 2 is a copy of CubeSat that was launched on Cygnus's cargo mission to the space station last November. CHEFSat 2 will experience commercial technologies off the shelf to evaluate their performance in space, focusing on new radio communication capabilities.
Cygnus will reduce its orbit under the height of the space station after release MYSat 1 and CHEFSat 2, targeting a height of about 200 miles (325km) to separate KickSat 2, a NASA sponsored CubeSat mission led by chief investigator Zac Manchester at Stanford University.
KickSat 2 carries 100 "small sprites" – basically 1.4 inches (3.5-centimeter) square circuit boards with integrated, computer, sensing and communication equipment. The mission is a sequel to the KickSat mission launched in 2014, but failed to release its spittle in an orbit.
The mission will experience the constraints of satellite miniaturization, a tendency towards affordability widely populated by the CubeSat design over the last two decades. But KickSat sprites are a small fraction of CubeSat.
KickSat 2 will spray its sprites at lower height to ensure that the circuit boards re-join the Earth's atmosphere in a few weeks, avoiding the possibility of sprites that may be hard to track with a radar. the earth, becomes long-term threat threat threats to other satellites.
The Cygnus was responsible for transporting more than half a dozen additional CubeSats inside an internal cabin to eventually discharge through an airplane on the space station. But they were withdrawn obviously, and postponed to launch in the future, according to Scott Higginbotham, mission manager for the NASA Nanosatellites Educational Launch program at the Kennedy Space Center.
Two of the CubeSats originally ordered to fly on the NG-10 mission – called UNITE and TechEdSat 8 from the University of Purdue and NASA Ames Research Center – will be launched on the next SpaceX rescue trip to & The station was not earlier than December 4, says Higginbotham. The others will be placed on the Northrop Grumman or SpaceX cargo launchers in the future.
Managers decided not to launch a secondary pay load on the second stage of the Antares rock.
Around 60 "ThinSat" wafers, each for a small amount, would be used from the Antares rocket shortly after reaching an orbit, well below the height of the space station, where they enter the sky. fast and burn up. Using a standard form factor, children of intermediate school age to university students have integrated sensor hardware and transmitter on the ThinSats with the support of Virginia Flight Flight Space, Twiggs Space Lab, Northrop Grumman, and NASA Flight Wallops Facility.
The first ThinSats had to fly on the NG-10 launch, but they will now be launching the next mission at Tântres in April.
Officials to get rid of the ThinSats from the Saturday launch to ensure that the small wetty does not pose a risk of collision with the Increase supply ship, according to Dale Nash, CEO of Virginia Space. Although there is no concern that ThinSats could be a threat to the space station itself, the Increase was orbiting around the same height that the small chips would release.
The Cygnus supply ship was nominated on Saturday at S.S. John Young, honored NASA astronomers who flew on six space trips – Gemini 3, Gemini 10, Apollo 10, Apollo 16, STS-1 and STS-9. Young co-piloted on the first flight of the NASA Gemini spacecraft in 1965, he walked on the moon during Apollo 16 in 1972, and ordered the first space shuttle mission in 1981. He died in January.
The two Cygnus motorways include two modules – a service module and turnover built by Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems in Dulles, Virginia, and a pressed logistics module built by Thales Alenia Space in Turin, Italy.
Cygnus has planned to re-join the atmosphere over Pacific Ocean at the end of his mission and burn up, disposing of the trash transported inside.
NG-10 is the first Cygnus flight since Northrop Grumman won Orbital ATK, who developed and flew the previous cargo flights under a 11 launch contract with NASA worth £ 2.89 billion.
Starting with NG-12, launched to launch in late 2019, Northrop Grumman will start a follow-up commercial re-supply services contract, guaranteeing the company at least six additional flights by 2024.
SpaceX also launches a cargo to the NASA space station, and the space agency has tapped Sierra Nevada Corp to start the re-communication and research complex of the end of 2020.
Email the author
Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1.