Dulles, VA, United States (4E) – The cargo supply spacecraft Cygnus of NASA partner Orbital Sciences Corp. docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday.
The Cygnus and its 1,300 pounds of supply for the Expedition 37 crew of the ISS berthed at 8:44 a.m. ET, 11 days after it was launched by Orbital’s Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg captured Cygnus with the station’s robotic arm, then attached the capsule on the bottom of the station’s Harmony node, completing installation by bolting the Cygnus to Harmony. The process went while the ISS was orbiting at 18,000 miles an hour, said Orbital’s Executive Vice President and former astronaut Frank Culbertson, Jr., according to Forbes.
The cargo, which includes student experiments, food and clothing, will be unloaded by the station crew on Monday. After unloading, the capsule will be loaded with refuse and waste from the ISS. The disposable Cygnus will unberth and fall back to Earth on Oct. 22 to burn in the atmosphere.
The docking marks the success of Orbital’s demo supply mission to the ISS and paves way for eight more resupply missions under a $1.9 billion NASA contract.