Northrop Grumman’s uncrewed Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to depart the International Space Station on Wednesday, Jan. 6, more than three months after delivering nearly 8,000 pounds of supplies, scientific investigations, commercial products, hardware, and other cargo to the orbiting outpost.
Live coverage of the cargo spacecraft’s departure will begin at 9:45 a.m. EST on NASA Television and the agency’s website, with release of Cygnus scheduled for 10:10 a.m.
Flight controllers on the ground will send commands to robotically detach Cygnus from the Unity module’s Earth-facing port, maneuver it into place, and release it from the Canadarm2 robotic arm. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will monitor Cygnus’ systems upon its departure from the space station.
Prior to departure, the crew will pack Cygnus with the Saffire V investigation, the SharkSat hosted payload, and several thousand pounds of trash. After departure, Cygnus will conduct an extended mission in orbit, hosting experiments, before performing a safe re-entry and burning up in Earth’s atmosphere.
The Cygnus resupply spacecraft is named in memory of Kalpana Chawla, the first female astronaut of Indian descent. Chawla, who dedicated her life to understanding flight dynamics, died in the STS-107 space shuttle Columbia accident.
Cygnus arrived at the space station Oct. 5, following an Oct. 2 launch on Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.