Orbital Sciences' Cygnus Returns to Earth
The demonstration mission undertaken by Orbital Sciences' Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft is over. The craft is now back on our planet following its 23-day stay at the International Space Station, having re-entered the planet's atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean at around 2:15 p.m. Eastern time today. Cygnus arrived full of almost 3,000 pounds of discarded items from the ISS astronauts.
The craft was launched into orbit from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Sept. 18, with more than 1,500 pounds of supplies. Although Cygnus rendezvoused with the ISS on schedule, docking was delayed because of a software compatibility problem.
Following the completion of the test flight, Orbital said it is ready to launch regular resupply flights to the ISS. Those missions are part of a $1.9 billion contract between the company and NASA for the provision of such services.
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