On Wednesday, September 18, 2013, Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket blasted the unmanned Cygnus capsule toward International Space Station (ISS). Its mission was to deliver essential items to the Expedition 36 crew members, including:
Cygnus successfully linked to ISS on Sunday, September 29, 2013. Astronauts used their ship’s huge robot arm to catch hold of the capsule.
Cygnus was expected to dock at ISS a week earlier, but was delayed due to inaccurate navigation data. All was fixed with a software patch. Before continuing its route, the capsule waited for a Russian spacecraft bringing three new astronauts in midweek.
Astronauts worked to install Cygnus on the space station after its early morning capture. The hatch opening was set for early Monday. VACCO is proud to have several hardware components on board Cygnus:
Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is on a 30-day transit to the moon. The spacecraft blasted off from Pad 0B at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, VA on Friday, Sep 6 at 11:27 pm EDT.
The unmanned probe that LADEE shot into space is on a mission to orbit the moon and gather detailed information about its thin exosphere and lunar dust environment. Information gained will not only help scientists answer long-standing wonders about the moon, but also help understand other planetary bodies with exospheres, like Mercury and some of Jupiter’s bigger moons.
VACCO proudly supplied the following hardware to SS Loral, who built the propulsion for the LADEE spacecraft: