The Cygnus Supply Ship delivers 3.8 tons of cargo to the International Space Station – space travel now


The Cygnus probe called S.S. Roger Chaffee is firmly under control on Friday after arriving at the spaceport's Canadian robotic arm. Picture credits: David Saint-Jacques / CSA / NASA

NASA flight engineer Anne McClain attacked Northrop Grumman's Cygnus supply ship from Cygnus on Friday with the robot arm of the International Space Station and marked the arrival of the automated cargo ship after a day and a half of a ramp in Virginia with a total weight of nearly 7,600 pounds of experiments. Food and supplies.

McClain commanded the Canadian-built robotic arm from a control station in the dome module and guided the end effector of the arm over a gripping pin at the back end of the Cygnus spacecraft while the cargo ship was about 10 meters below the complex. Houston Mission Control said the successful capture of Cygnus at 5:28 am EDT (0928 GMT), as the station sailed 415 kilometers north-east of France.

Northrop Grumman christened the Cygnus the S. S. Roger Chaffee, after the deceased astronaut who died 1967 together with Gus Grissom and Ed White in the Apollo 1 fire.

"It is necessary to officially have the S.S. Roger Chaffee on board, and we look forward to working with more than 7,000 pounds of cargo in the next few months," McClain said shortly after taking Cygnus.

Later, engineers on the ground took over the arm, which launched aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor 18 years ago, to place Cygnus at a berth on the nadir or the near-Earth side of the unit's Unity module, where a series of interlocks and um 7 At 31 o'clock EDT (1131 GMT), bolts were closed to make a firm connection.

The arrival on Friday marked the end of a shorter rendezvous profile for the Cygnus probe after launching from Wallops Island, Virginia, on Wednesday aboard an Antares rocket. Northrop Grumman changed the Cygnus flight plan with a pair of automated altitude burns shortly after the separation from the Antares launcher, giving the supply ship a head start on the way to the space station.

The change is one of several new upgrades and features of this Cygnus mission, Northrop Grumman's 11th and final follow-up flight, as part of the company's $ 2.89 billion freight transportation contract signed with NASA in 2008. Northrop Grumman has a follow-up assignment with NASA for at least six additional Cygnus missions beginning in October.

Under the terms of the second agreement, Northrop Grumman will provide NASA with enhanced cargo capacity, including the ability to load time-dependent equipment less than 24 hours prior to launch into the pressurized module of the vessel, and the revised rendezvous profile to accelerate traffic Station to arrive. Officials repeated the new procedures on this mission called NG-11.

On the next Cygnus mission, the main engines of the Antares rocket will fly with higher throttle settings, allowing the mission to carry up to 10 percent more cargo.

The station's astronauts planned to open hatches that would later lead into the internal cabin of the Cygnus spacecraft. There, the equipment should be unpacked. These include a carrier with 40 mice on which researchers can study their immune system in space by examining their body's response to tetanus vaccination. The rodents and their habitat were loaded into the Cygnus Supply Ship the night before launch. The first time mice rode a Cygnus mission to the space station.

The engineers load the last charge into the Cygnus spacecraft on Tuesday night, one day before the launch of Wallops Island, Virginia. Picture credits: NASA / Bill Ingalls

Two remote-controlled astrobe robots developed at NASA's Ames Research Center in California were also delivered to the space station on Friday. The battery-powered cube-shaped robots move through the space station's internal volume to inspect and assist crew members in their work. They replace NASA's three aging SPHERES robots that have been on the station since 2006.

"We replace it with Astrobee, so we've integrated many features into Astrobee to facilitate research," said Maria Bualat, Astrobees Project Manager and Deputy Leader of the Intelligent Robotics Group at Ames. "For one thing, there are several payload shafts … So we have these open areas on the robot where you can easily plug in payloads both up and down."

In recent years, SPHERES robots have carried out experiments to investigate the sloshing of liquids in spacecraft and the robotic detection of space debris. Like SPHERES, Astrobee robots can demonstrate new skills to researchers in a controlled pressure environment in the space station.

"It can be used for the development of science and technology," said Bualat. "So it can carry other payloads that we want to test in weightlessness, but it can also be used as a tool by floor controls. So we can use the camera to do video surveys or observe crew activities so that the ground is actually ready to answer all the questions the crew has in a complex activity, and they also do not need any crew time to move the camera , So if the camera is placed badly, the camera can simply be flown to another location.

"The other thing we can do is we can carry other instruments," she said. "We can bring environmental understanding sensors, like CO2 sensors, to understand the concentrations, we can carry radiation sensors, we can also carry RFID readers that do inventory, and find lost tools or lost devices that are unsafe where she is located. We can actually fly the robot around and look for equipment that is needed for other experiments. That way, we do not have to search the crew for a needed device. "

The Astrobee robot uses vision-based navigation – and compares what he sees to a pre-loaded map of the station – to know where he is on the space station, Bualat says. A propulsion module that uses air inlets and nozzles provides the momentum required to fly the space station, and a docking port is available for connection to each robot for charging the battery.

Roberto Carlino, Electronics and Integration Engineer at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, conducts acoustic testing in a sonic chamber at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston. The test measures the noise level of Astrobee when the robot is docked and when the robot activates its fan assisted propulsion system to undock it. Credits: Johnson Space Center of NASA / Robert Markowitz

"It draws in air through a circular central fan that gently pressurizes the drive module, and then there are six nozzles on each side – a total of 12 – that open and close, and so the robot moves around the station." said Bualat.

A third Astrobee robot is expected to fly to the station later this year on a SpaceX cargo mission.

Other hardware carried by the Cygnus spacecraft includes a device designed to make optical fibers in orbit. Developed by a San Diego company called FOMS, the Space Fibers facility helps engineers determine the efficacy and quality of weightless optical fibers.

In addition to Made in Space, FOMS is one of two companies that want to manufacture optical fibers on the space station. Officials from both companies believe that a material mix called ZBLAN – which stands for zirconium, barium, lanthanum, sodium, and aluminum – can microgravate into higher quality optical fibers than conventional silica-based fibers used on Earth.

"The immediate opportunities for these fibers lie in remote sensing and defense applications, but there is also a great market opportunity for telecommunications applications," said Dmitry Starodubov, chief scientist of the Space Fibers facility of FOMS Inc.

Eleven CubeSats, developed by students and startup companies, also drove to the station in the Cygnus Freight Module. The astronauts bring the CubeSats to the station's Japanese Kibo lab module where they are installed on a deployer to transfer them through the Kibo airlock and release them into orbit from the robotic arm.

The CubeSats introduced in Cygnus for the deployment of the space station include:

  • EntrySat was developed by the aerospace institute ISAE-SUPAERO in France with the support of the French space agency CNES. The 3U CubeSat, about the size of a loaf of bread, was built by French students and uses position, pressure, temperature and heat flow sensors to study the reentry of orbital debris according to CNES.
  • IOD-1 GEMS is the first of Orbital Micro Systems, a Colorado-based company with a large data center in Scotland, to design a 3U CubeSat demonstration for a global environmental monitoring system. The IOD-1 GEMS nanosatellite, funded by Innovate UK, collects atmospheric observation data. It is Orbital Micro Systems' first planned 48 CubeSats fleet that captures global microwave radiation data for weather forecasting.
  • KRAKSatDeveloped by students of the University of Science and Technology and the Jagiellonian University in Poland, it will test the feasibility of a ferrofluid flywheel to control the orientation of nanosatellites in space. "A torus surrounded by eight electromagnets in a ferrofluid is a key part of our experiment," the KRAKSat team wrote in a mission summary. "By changing the magnetic field we accelerate the ferrofluid and cause its rotation. The result of this movement should be the rotation of the satellite in the opposite direction. "
  • Swiatowid is a technology demonstration satellite developed by SatRevolution S.A., a Polish startup company. The 2U-CubeSat has a telescope and an industrial-grade camera sensor to demonstrate high-resolution images of low Earth orbit with small satellites. Swiatowid is designed to collect images with a 3 meter or 10 foot soil removal distance, and the team wants to improve it to 1 meter on future missions.
  • The Virginia CubeSat Constellation mission consists of three 1U CubeSats, each slightly larger than a Rubik's Cube and developed by Virginia students at the University of Virginia, Old Dominion University, Virginia Tech, and Hampton University. The CubeSats are called Aeternitas, Cetes and Libertas. They measure the orbital decay of a constellation of small satellites and, according to NASA, develop a database of atmospheric resistance and the variability of atmospheric properties.
  • Uguisu, Raavana 1, and NepaliSat 1 are 1U CubeSats developed by student and research teams in Japan, Sri Lanka and Nepal under the auspices of the International Birds Program.
  • SpooQy 1, developed at the National University of Singapore, will demonstrate quantum entanglement with a CubeSat for the first time.
The spaceship Swiatowid. Picture credits: SatRevolution S.A.

According to NASA, the space station's Cygnus probe delivered over 800 meals. Meals include smoked turkey, pork chops, shrimp cocktail and desserts such as cherry cobbler, chocolate pudding and lemon cake.

The pressurized cargo module from S.S. built by Thales Alenia Space in Italy. Roger Chaffee is filled with 3,162 kilograms of supplies and experiments. Here is a listing of the freight manifest provided by NASA:

  • 3,459 pounds (1,569 kilograms) of scientific research
  • 936 kilograms of crew
  • 1,388 pounds (628 kg) of vehicle hardware
  • 77 kg (35 kg) Northrop Grumman hardware
  • 24 kilograms of space equipment
  • 10 pounds (5 kilograms) of computer resources

Outside the Cygnus spacecraft, more than 500 pounds of additional payload hardware is installed to assist CubeSat deployments after leaving the space station, increasing the total payload load on NG-11 to 3,436 kilograms.

The Cygnus Supply Ship is expected to remain stationed in the Unity module of the International Space Station by July 23. Then it is released by the robot arm of the station with several tons of garbage for disposal.

The Northrop Grumman ground team in Dulles, Virginia, will send the Cygnus spacecraft into higher orbit to deploy multiple CubeSats from a NanoRacks module and a Slingshot mechanism.

One of the CubeSats to be released from the space station after leaving Cygnus is called Seeker. Developed at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston with a camera system provided by University of Texas engineers in Austin, Seeker conducts an inspection of the Cygnus spacecraft to demonstrate the navigation and imaging capabilities in space used in future missions could be used in Washington space.

Two AeroCube 10 Nanosatellites from Aerospace Corp. will also break away from Cygnus to conduct satellite-to-satellite experiments, assess the use of a water-based waterjet propulsion, and release 29 small atmospheric probes to measure air density in low Earth orbit.

Northrop Grumman plans several months of spaceflight experiments with Cygnus spacecraft following the release of the CubeSats. For the first time, four miniaturized control-moment gyroscopes fly on the freighter, and the engineers assess their performance in controlling the spacecraft's orientation without consuming rocket fuel.

Ground teams also want to investigate how the cygnus probe avionics works on a long-term mission. Northrop Grumman plans to demonstrate dual cygnus operations for the first time since the company's next resupply mission.

Like all previous Cygnus missions, the spaceship will burn on re-entering the Pacific Ocean as soon as the extended mission demonstration is completed.

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