On 20th February, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft was launched for the International Space Station. The spacecraft carried supplies and experiments for the ISS. The liftoff took place at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia at exactly 12:36 PM. And the Cygnus Spacecraft was carried by the Antares 230+ that detached itself from the spacecraft after 9 minutes of the launch. The arrival date of the Spacecraft on the ISS is 22nd February that means today. It will be attached to the station and will be stationed there for 3 months.
More about Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft
The spacecraft is carrying cargo weighing 3,810 kgs. These include everything from food to equipment. There is also specific hardware for the station that helps in having a better life at the space station. It includes spare parts for the toilet, an extra sleeping bunker for the 7 astronauts the ISS is housing, and other additional stuff. The spacecraft will also carry equipment that will allow the astronauts to carry out research without needing to transmit the data to Earth.
With more astronauts at the ISS, the research time has also increased significantly. The Cygnus spacecraft won’t reland for reuse, and so they could also perform experiments with it before it enters the Earth’s atmosphere.
Speeding up activity at the ISS
Just after a week, the Russian MS-16 spacecraft was launched for the ISS and docked on 17th Feb; the Cygnus was launched. So, we can see that within a week, 2 spacecraft made their way to the ISS. With more astronauts in the ISS, the supplies required there have also increased. At the same time, the focus on research has also been boosted. Even in the future, there are many pending launches that are going to happen back to back.
There has been a lot going on and a lot of docking and undocking is will happen in the upcoming months. This is due to the launch of the Starliner that will get docked at the main port of the ISS. And the spacecraft currently using it will be moved to an alternative one. As of now, this mission is scheduled to happen on April 2.
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