Cygnus debuts its space delivery service
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA's newest delivery service made its first-ever shipment to the International Space Station on Sunday, another triumph for the booming commercial space arena that has its sights set on launching astronauts.
Orbital Sciences Corp.'s unmanned cargo ship, the Cygnus, pulled up at the orbiting lab with a half-ton of meals and special treats for the station astronauts who assisted in the high-flying feat.
With the smooth linkup, Orbital Sciences of Virginia became only the second company to accomplish such a far-flung shipment. The California-based SpaceX company took the lead last year.
NASA officials along with White House representatives declared it a historic day.
“It was just a very, very impressive job ... I just couldn't be happier and more proud,” said the NASA manager overseeing the commercial effort, Alan Lindenmoyer.
Now that the space station has two U.S. private companies capable of delivering goods, he noted, “it's certainly relief and something we're ready to celebrate.”
All this was a week late in coming.
The Cygnus — named after the swan constellation — should have arrived last Sunday, four days after its launch from Virginia on Sept. 18. But a discrepancy in navigation data between the capsule and the space station led to a frustrating standoff. A simple software repair was carried out by ground controllers. Then the Cygnus had to wait for a Russian spacecraft to bring three new astronauts.
The wait involved “some hair-pulling and heartache,” said Orbital Sciences Executive Vice President Frank Culbertson. But in the end, the company's patience was rewarded with a perfect rendezvous demonstration.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cleveland agrees to overhaul police under settlement with Justice Department
- IRS says hackers stole tax info from 100,000
- More rain worsens flooding in Texas
- Texas man charged with helping friend’s bid to join ISIS
- ‘Free-range’ parents cleared of neglect
- Airman kills 1 in North Dakota store
- Gouging rare in loans to troops
- Shootings, slayings surge during Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, Baltimore
- Oregon proposal would outlaw sneak photos up women’s skirts
- Patriot Act deal looks unlikely
- Amtrak cameras to view operators