CAMBRIDGE, MA – The Cygnus spacecraft launched Oct. 17, embarking on its sixth cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) effort. Using maneuvers enabled by software developed by Draper, the Orbital Sciences Corp. Cygnus spacecraft will rendezvous and dock with the ISS, soon after the Oct. 21 docking of a Soyuz spacecraft carrying three new ISS crew members.
The Cygnus spacecraft will deliver more than 5,100 pounds of crew supplies, scientific research and hardware to the ISS orbital laboratory to support the Expedition 49 and 50 crews. According to NASA, “new science experiments launching to the station include investigations on fire in space, the effect of lighting on sleep and daily rhythms, collection of health-related data, and a new way to measure neutrons.”
This NASA cargo delivery mission launched at 7:45 p.m. EDT, Oct. 17, above Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Orbital ATK successfully launched its Cygnus spacecraft on an Antares rocket at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia. This launch marks Orbital ATK’s first Antares rocket into space since 2014.
Draper developed the guidance, navigation and targeting software, and provided the fault-tolerant computer design for the Cygnus. Additionally, Draper developed the software that enables the Cygnus spacecraft to rendezvous and berth with the International Space Station.