Cygnus spacecraft


Cygnus spacecraft

The Cygnus spacecraft are unmanned resupply spacecraft being developed by Orbital Sciences Corporation as part of NASA's COTS project. They are designed to transport supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) after the retirement of the Space Shuttle. The selection of Cygnus for COTS was announced on 19 February 2008. [http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/content/?cid=5361 NASASpaceflight.com - Orbital beat a dozen competitors to win NASA COTS contract] ]

The Cygnus spacecraft is designed to carry a variety of pressurized and unpressurized cargo modules including a shortened version of the Italian-built Multi-Purpose Logistics Module and a variant of NASA's ExPRESS Logistics Carrier. The Canadarm 2 robotic arm of the ISS will grapple the spacecraft and attach it to a Common Berthing Mechanism. [ [http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/Tauras022008.xml AviationWeek.com - Orbital Sciences To Build Taurus II] ]

The first Cygnus demonstration flight is expected in late 2010, launched by a Taurus II rocket. Since August 2000 unmanned ISS resupply missions have been regularly flown by Russian Progress spacecraft, and by one flight of a European Automated Transfer Vehicle.

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References


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