The Cygnus spacecraft is an unmanned cargo ship that transports supplies and equipment to the International Space Station (ISS) and then takes away garbage. It is operated by Northrop Grumman Space Systems, a US private aerospace and defense technology company. The vehicle is named after the Cygnus visible in the northern night sky.
Spacecraft Design and Operation The
Cygnus spacecraft was developed by Orbital Sciences and Thales Alenia Space Company. It consists of a 17-foot (5 m) long pressurized silver cylinder and is composed of two protruding solar energy. The battery board serves as a power source. From its side. The original version of the Cygnus can carry up to 4,409 pounds. previously reported that it had shipped (2,000 kg) of material to the International Space Station, but the latest model has a payload capacity of up to 7,716 pounds. (3500 kg).
A typical Cygnus mission was launched using an Antares rocket from NASA’s launch pad, expanded to an altitude of 400 kilometers (250 miles), in the orbit of the International Space Station. According to the European Space Agency, the aircraft used GPS and star trackers to navigate autonomously near the space station, and was later captured by the advanced robot Canadaarm2, which was controlled by astronauts on the International Space Station.
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Once the spacecraft is docked with the International Space Station, the crew will open the door on the Cygnus and remove the equipment from the spacecraft. During the 30-day mission, Cygnus was filled with garbage, then closed again and separated from the station. According to NASA, it can hold several tons of garbage and discarded items.
With the end of the debris and refueling mission, the Cygnus spacecraft burned in the Earth’s atmosphere in the uninhabited Pacific Ocean. How
CYGNUS Began Development of
Cygnus began in 2008, when NASA awarded Orbital Sciences, a private aerospace company in Virginia, a $ 1.9 billion contract under the agency’s commercial orbital service plan .com , as previously reported. After NASA’s space shuttle program officially ended in 2011, the spacecraft was designed to carry materials to the International Space Station. The
Orbital Corporation launched its first Cygnus spacecraft from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia in 2013, with an Antares rocket, which was also built by Orbital Corporation. On September 29 of the same year, the car was delivered for the first time, close enough to the station, captured by the robotic arm and then parked in the Harmony module at the outpost. Related
: Private Cygnus Spacecraft and
Space Station Held First Historic Encounter. In 2018, Northrop Grumman acquired the company in orbit for $ 7.8 billion and took over the Cygnus core and its launch vehicle. Property of the host.
Cygnus Achievements So Far
Since its first launch, the Cygnus freighter has carried more than 70,000 pounds. According to Northrop Grumman, the station requires (31,500 kg) of the necessary equipment. Over the years, Cygnus has demonstrated many functions in addition to being a supply vehicle, including launching CubeSats, acting as additional laboratory space when docked with the International Space Station, improving the space station’s orbit, and flying. independently for more than a year. .
In 2021, the Cygnus spacecraft was named after Katherine Johnson, a mathematician and NASA “hidden figure” who helped calculate the Apollo 11 mission. The mission carries an advanced supercomputer, an artificial retina and worm experiments, which will be used for muscle strength testing experiments.
related: Cygnus cargo plane pays tribute to the hidden figure Catherine Johnson.
Cygnus’s other recent missions have brought 5G technology experiments, cheese and candy delivery, and a $23 million titanium space toilet to the International Space Station.


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