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Cygnus Commercial Spacecraft Successfully Docks with ISS

Sep 29, 2013 04:33 PM EDT
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Cargo Ship
The Cygnus commercial resupply craft is installed by the Canadarm2 to the Harmony node.
(Photo : NASA TV)

A privately-owned cargo ship, operated by US space company Orbital Sciences Corp., successfully completed its first rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday, the company said in a statement.

The cargo ship was running a week behind schedule following complications with it's a navigation software. The Cygnus supply ship, which was built and launched as a commercial venture by Orbital Sciences Corp., was captured by Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano at 7 a.m. EDT (GMT-4) as the two spacecraft sailed high above the Indian Ocean.

The unmanned Cygnus spacecraft was grappled by a robotic arm operated by astronauts inside the space station at about 11 a.m. GMT.  "Capture!!! #ISS arm grapples #Cygnus," Orbital said in a tweet. "Smiles all around Orbital." 

Orbital Sciences got its name after the late NASA astronaut and the Cygnus supply ship is carrying about 1,500 pounds of food, clothing and other non-critical supplies.

"We'd like to congratulate you on a great capture today," radioed astronaut Catherine Coleman from mission control in Houston. "Also like to say welcome aboard to the Orbital Sciences G. David Low ... a great human being who bravely explored and had a tremendous vision for the future of spaceflight. We're really proud to have the G. David Low aboard the ISS today. Thanks for all your good work."

"I would like, first of all, to say that I was honored to be allowed to be part of this day," Parmitano replied. "It was really, really a pleasure and it was a privilege to work with all the teams on the ground, both from Houston, of course, from Orbital and here on the station."

With the successful first flight, a second Cygnus could be called upon to fly Orbital's first resupply mission under a $1.9 billion contract in December.

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