Or­bital cargo ship ar­rives at space sta­tion

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida: The In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion re­ceived its first ship­ment from Vir­ginia in more than two years yes­ter­day fol­low­ing a sen­sa­tional night­time launch ob­served 250 miles up and down the East Coast. Or­bital ATK’s cargo ship pulled up at the space sta­tion bear­ing 5,000 pounds of food, equip­ment and re­search. “What a beau­ti­ful ve­hi­cle,” said Ja­panese as­tro­naut Takuya Onishi, who used the sta­tion’s big ro­bot arm to grab the ves­sel. The cap­ture oc­curred as the space­craft soared 250 miles above Kyr­gyzs­tan; Onishi likened it to the last 195 me­ters of a marathon.

Last Mon­day’s liftoff from Wal­lops Is­land was the first by an Antares rocket since a 2014 launch ex­plo­sion. Or­bital ATK re­designed its Antares rocket and re­built the pad. While the Antares was grounded, Vir­ginia-based Or­bital ATK kept the NASA sup­ply chain open with de­liv­er­ies from Cape Canaveral, Florida, us­ing an­other com­pany’s rocket.

NASA is pay­ing Or­bital ATK and SpaceX to stock the sta­tion, but now SpaceX is grounded. The Cal­i­for­nia com­pany is in­ves­ti­gat­ing why one of its Fal­con rock­ets ex­ploded in a mas­sive fire­ball dur­ing launch pad test­ing on Sept 1. Fol­low­ing liftoff, Or­bital ATK’s Cygnus capsule or­bited solo for twice the usual amount of time. NASA wanted the Cygnus - named after the swan con­stel­la­tion - to wait for three as­tro­nauts to launch from Kaza­khstan. They ar­rived Fri­day, dou­bling the size of the crew. Be­sides Onishi, the crew in­cludes two Amer­i­cans and three Rus­sians.

Help­ing Onishi with the Cygnus yes­ter­day morn­ing was NASA as­tro­naut Kate Ru­bins. Their four-month mis­sion will end next week­end. This par­tic­u­lar Cygnus, mean­while, is of­fi­cially known as the S S Alan Poin­dex­ter. Or­bital ATK named it after a for­mer space shut­tle com­man­der who helped to build the sta­tion.

He was killed in a jet ski ac­ci­dent in 2012. Once the Cygnus is un­loaded, it will be filled with trash and set loose to burn up in the at­mos­phere in midNovem­ber. — AP

The Cygnus re­sup­ply ship slowly ap­proaches the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion (ISS) be­fore the Canadarm2 reaches out and grap­ples it yes­ter­day. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.