Washington – The private space shuttle “Cygnus” is successfully docked on Sunday to the International Space Station. The ship of the U.S. company Orbital Sciences, which has more than a ton of material for research purposes on board, was coupled by means of a robotic arm to the module “Harmony” as the U.S. space agency NASA announced.
“Cygnus” was launched on Thursday a day late, because it was feared that increased radiation due to a relatively strong solar flare could damage the electronics on board.
The new delivery
It was the first regular flight for Orbital Sciences flying as well as the private company SpaceX for NASA supplies to the ISS since the U.S. space agency had its shuttle program set after 30 years in 2011. Orbital Sciences had taken only an unladen test flight. “Cygnus” has loaded 1260 kg of equipment for experiments. Some ants are, whose behavior is to be studied in weightlessness.
Orbital Sciences has signed a contract with NASA for eight cargo flights to the ISS. SpaceX has already sent its unmanned cargo spacecraft “Dragon” three times to the ISS. Unlike “Dragon” can bring to earth the space freighter from Orbital Sciences no freight back. The “Cygnus” is up to 18 February will be loaded from the six astronauts on board the ISS with garbage, which then burns up together with the freighter when it enters the Earth’s atmosphere. (APA, 01/12/2014)