|Launch Date:||December 6, 2015|
|Arrival at ISS:||December 9, 2015|
|Launch Site:||Cape Canaveral, Florida|
The Cygnus cargo resupply spacecraft carrying over 7,700 lbs. of cargo for the International Space Station (ISS) was captured by the ISS crew using the station's robotic arm at 6:18 a.m. EST. Cygnus was berthed to the station at 9:26 a.m. EST on Wednesday, December 9, 2015. The crew aboard the ISS opened the hatch to Cygnus at 4:42 a.m. EST on Thursday, December 10.
About the Mission
For the OA-4 mission, Orbital ATK’s Cygnus advanced maneuvering spacecraft is carrying approximately 3,500 kg (7,700 lbs.) of supplies and science experiments for the International Space Station (ISS). Under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA, Orbital will deliver approximately 28,700 kilograms of cargo to the ISS. OA-4 is the fourth of these missions.
The launch portion of the mission lasted approximately 21 minutes from ignition of the Atlas V rocket to the separation of Cygnus in its initial target orbit. Approximately one hour after separation, Cygnus unfurled its circular UltraFlex™ solar arrays and over the next two days raised its orbit in order to rendezvous with the space station. Astronauts aboard the ISS useed the station’s robotic arm to grapple Cygnus and berth it to the Unity node of the space station.
Cygnus will remain attached to the station for approximately two months, during which time the station crew will remove the cargo from Cygnus and fill it with materials for disposal. Once Cygnus departs the station, it will safely reenter the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.
Cygnus is a low-risk design incorporating elements drawn from Orbital ATK and its partners’ existing, flight-proven spacecraft technologies. Cygnus consists of a common Service Module (SM) and a Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM). The SM is assembled and tested at Orbital ATK’s Dulles, VA satellite manufacturing facility and incorporates systems from Orbital ATK’s flight-proven LEOStar™ and GEOStar™ satellite product lines. The PCM is based on the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) and was developed and built by Thales Alenia Space of Italy.
The Cygnus spacecraft for the OA-4 mission is the first to employ the longer, enhanced PCM which can carry a greater volume of cargo than the PCM flown on previous missions, and lightweight UltraFlex arrays developed and built by Orbital ATK’s Goleta, CA facility.
The Cygnus spacecraft for this mission is named the S.S. Deke Slayton II. Learn more about Deke Slayton here.