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Forum:Commercial Space - Military Space
Topic:Northrop Grumman Cygnus NG-17 CRS flight
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"We are expanding the suite of value-added capabilities that we offer through our proven Cygnus program," said Steve Krein, vice president, civil and commercial space, Northrop Grumman. "The addition of reboost services to Cygnus' capabilities provides NASA with an even greater tool to advance space science and exploration, whether that's on the International Space Station, the moon or beyond."

Reboosting is a critical part of altitude maintenance for the station. Earth's atmosphere causes a slight amount of drag, causing the station's altitude to lower slowly over time. Small, precise nudges are required to place it back into its proper orbit. Northrop Grumman will perform the adjustment service while Cygnus is berthed with the station.

Robert PearlmanNASA live video
Watch Northrop Grumman's Cygnus spacecraft lift off atop an Antares rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.
Robert Pearlman
SS Piers Sellers arrives on station

Northrop Grumman's NG-17 Cygnus spacecraft, the S.S. Piers Sellers, was installed on the Earth facing port of the International Space Station's Unity node at 7:02 a.m. EST (1202 GMT) on Monday (Feb. 21).

Launched on Saturday, the Cygnus was captured by the Canadarm2 at about 4:44 a.m. (0944), with NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Kayla Barron at the robotic arm's controls.

Highlights of space station research facilitated by this mission include:

  • a study that examines the effects of a drug on breast and prostate cancer cells

  • a new combustion facility

  • an investigation from Colgate-Palmolive that will leverage the acceleration of skin aging in microgravity to help create and validate an engineered tissue model to serve as a platform for testing potential products to protect aging skin

  • a demonstration of a lithium-ion secondary battery capable of safe, stable operation under extreme temperatures and in a vacuum environment

  • new hydrogen sensors that will be tested for the space station's oxygen generation system

  • a system that will test hydroponic and aeroponic techniques for plant growth and will allow scientists to observe root growth through video and still images

  • a prototype Moon Gallery with 64 works of art.
Findings from these and other investigations aboard the space station will contribute to keeping astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration missions as part of NASA's Moon and Mars efforts, including lunar missions through the agency's Artemis program.

The S.S. Piers Sellers also delivered critical hardware to be installed during the upcoming ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (IROSA) spacewalks, as well as other components for the successful functioning of astronaut life on the space station, such as a trash deployer and acoustic covers for the waste management system.

This Cygnus mission is the first to feature enhanced capabilities that will allow the spacecraft to perform a reboost, using its engines to adjust the space station's orbit as a standard service for NASA. The agency has one reboost is planned while Cygnus is connected to the orbiting laboratory. A test of the maneuver was performed in 2018 during Cygnus' ninth resupply mission.

The S.S. Piers Sellers will remain at the space station through May. After its release, the Cygnus will deploy several CubeSats and then dispose of several thousand pounds of trash during its destructive re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

Robert PearlmanNASA release
Cyguns Reboost Aborted, Next Steps Being Planned

On Monday (June 20) at 10:20 a.m. Central time (1520 GMT), Northrop Grumman's Cygnus NG CRS-17 engine was scheduled to fire for 5 minutes, 1 second to test the cargo craft's ability to reboost the International Space Station in the future. The engine firing was aborted after five seconds. Cygnus' Mission Director at Dulles, Virginia reported the cause for the abort is under review.

NASA and Northrop Grumman flight controllers are reviewing data from today's attempt and will develop a plan for the next steps needed to continue development of this enhanced capability as a standard service for NASA.

The Expedition 67 crew, which was never in any danger, is continuing its regular regime of work aboard the complex, which is orbiting around 260 miles above the Earth.

Robert PearlmanNASA release
Cygnus Fires Engine for Limited Station Reboost

On Saturday, June 25, Northrop Grumman's NG-17 Cygnus completed its first limited reboost of the International Space Station.

Cygnus' gimbaled delta velocity engine was used to adjust the space station's orbit through a reboost of the altitude of the space station. The maneuver lasted 5 minutes, 1 second and raised the station's altitude 1/10 of a mile at apogee and 5/10 of a mile at perigee.

This Cygnus mission is the first to feature this enhanced capability as a standard service for NASA, following a test of the maneuver which was performed in 2018 during Cygnus's ninth resupply mission. Cygnus arrived to the orbital outpost in February and is slated to depart from space station Tuesday, June 28.

Robert PearlmanNASA release
SS Piers Sellers Completes Station Mission After Four Months

At 7:07 a.m. EDT (1107 GMT) on Tuesday (June 28), flight controllers sent commands to release the Northrop Grumman NG-17 Cygnus spacecraft, "S.S. Piers Sellers," from the Canadarm2 robotic arm after earlier detaching the vehicle from the nadir port of the International Space Station’s Unity module. At the time of release, the station was flying about 260 miles (420 km) over the Pacific Ocean.

The S.S. Piers Sellers successfully departed the space station more than three months after arriving at the microgravity laboratory to deliver about 8,300 pounds (3,800 kg) of supplies, scientific investigations, commercial products, hardware, and other cargo for NASA.

Following a deorbit engine firing on Wednesday, the Cygnus will begin a planned destructive re-entry, in which the spacecraft — filled with trash packed by the station crew — will safely burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

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