Orbital ATK concludes new Nasa cargo mission to ISS


Orbital ATK has ended the seventh cargo logistics mission to the International Space Station (ISS) with the safe and destructive re-entry of its Cygnus spacecraft into the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.

The SS John Glenn spacecraft was launched to the ISS in April as part of Nasa’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-1) contract from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US.

Orbital ATK space systems group president Frank Culbertson said: “Our departure from the International Space Station six weeks ahead of schedule once again proves Orbital ATK’s versatility, flexibility and dedication to our Nasa customer.

“The flawless completion of our fourth cargo delivery trip in a little more than a year demonstrates our commitment to deliver mission success and represents a fitting tribute to the life and accomplishments of one of the great American heroes of our time, John Glenn.”

“Our departure from the International Space Station six weeks ahead of schedule once again proves Orbital ATK’s versatility, flexibility and dedication to our Nasa customer."

Reaching the ISS four days after its launch, the Cygnus spacecraft delivered 3,450kg of cargo, including NanoRacks CubeSat deployer, food, clothing, crew supplies, spare parts, packaging materials and laboratory equipment to the astronauts.

It remained docked at the station for 44 days and departed with 1,950kg of items for disposal.

On its return journey, Cygnus conducted the Spacecraft Fire Experiment-III (Saffire-III), which is designed by Nasa’s Glenn Research Centre.

The latest experiment was the third in a series of tests that studied how large-scale fires behave in microgravity.

The spacecraft has also deployed four CubeSats into orbit and initiated an experiment to analyse what happens when it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere.