Longer delay for space station delivery mission (Update)

Sep 23, 2013 by Marcia Dunn

A new commercial spaceship will wait all week before aiming again for the International Space Station.

Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Cygnus capsule was supposed to arrive Sunday, four days after its launch. But the rendezvous was aborted because of a discrepancy in navigation data between the two vessels.

The Virginia company has developed and tested a software repair to sync up the two sets of GPS data. Different formats inadvertently were used for reporting time, said company spokesman Barron Beneski. NASA's Bruce Manners, a commercial space project executive, called it a "very small, simple fix."

Despite the quick remedy, NASA and Orbital Sciences agreed Monday to delay this second delivery attempt until at least Saturday. That's because of an impending manned mission from Kazakhstan; it would have cut it too close and created too big a workload to squeeze in the Cygnus before then.

Three astronauts are scheduled to blast off on a Russian rocket Wednesday and arrive at the space station later in the day. That will round out the crew to the normal six.

This is the maiden voyage of the Cygnus and therefore considered a test flight.

Only one other private company has attempted space station shipments: Space Exploration Technologies Corp. of California, good for three deliveries over the past 1½ years. SpaceX launches from Cape Canaveral, while Orbital Sciences flies from Wallops Island, Virginia.

NASA is contracting with the two companies to keep the 260-mile (418-kilometer)-high outpost stocked. Space shuttles used to ferry U.S. supplies. Russia, Japan and Europe launch their own cargo.

Manners said the Cygnus has plenty of fuel and opportunities for numerous approaches. A firm delivery date will be chosen following the Soyuz arrival late Wednesday.

Explore further: SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

5 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

9 hours ago

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

16 hours ago

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

19 hours ago

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

19 hours ago

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

Spinning up a dust devil on Mars

20 hours ago

Spinning up a dust devil in the thin air of Mars requires a stronger updraft than is needed to create a similar vortex on Earth, according to research at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.