Peruvian Satellite Arrives at Space Station Aboard Cygnus Cargo Capsule
Included in the nearly 3,000 pounds of cargo that arrived at the International Space Station early Sunday morning was a Peruvian satellite designed by staff and students from Peru's Universidad Alas Peruanas, the Peruvian news site Andina reported.
The cube-shaped satellite, launched aboard Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket, which launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Thursday. The satellite arrived via the aerospace firm's Cygnus cargo capsule along with more than 20 other student projects, including one designed to study ant behavior in microgravity.
UAPSAT-1 was built to gather and report information on space weather back to Earth through the help of radio broadcasts, Andina reported.
Antares' successful launch came after weeks of delay, first due to a faulty pump module located on one of the space station's two external cooling units, and then later due to increased radiation as a result of a solar flare and its associated coronal mass ejection.
"Our team has put in a lot of hard work to get to the point of performing regular ISS cargo delivery trips for NASA," Orbital's President and CEO David Thompson said following the launch. "It's an exciting day for all of us and I'm looking forward to completing this and our future CRS missions safely and successfully for our NASA customer."
Other cargo included crew provisions, spare parts and, according to Andina, Christmas gifts and food for the crew members as the mission was originally scheduled to reach the space station shortly before Dec. 25.
When the capsule arrived, NASA crew member Mike Hopkins used the station's robotic arm Canadarm2 to grapple Cygnus. Japan's Koichi Wakata then guided it to the Harmony node where it berthed two hours later.
Come Feb. 19, the capsule is scheduled to burn up during reentry over the Pacific Ocean.