Orbital ATK’s Cygnus s cecraft has unberthed from the encircling International S ce Station, marking the start of the second phase of its occu tion before re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.
Last month, the s cecraft was initiated aboard an improved Antares rocket from Nasa Wallops Light out Facility, Virginia, US, to deliver around 2,400kg of cargo and science trials to the astronauts.
The crew members have loaded the cargo module with far 1,120kg of items for disposal prior to Cygnus’ de rture.
Currently encircling on its own, Cygnus will conduct two secondary mission objectives as rt of its rtridge programme, which includes the S cecraft Fire Experiment-II (Saffire-II) yload try and the deployment of CubeSats to improve weather forecasting ca bilities.
«We get another moment to showcase this unique s cecraft’s ex nded ca bilities beyond its pit cargo delivery function.»
Developed at Nasa’s Glenn Research Center, Saffire-II is the subordinate in a series of tests to study the behaviour of large-scale fires in microgravity.
Orbital ATK place systems group president Frank Culbertson said: “Cygnus had a famed, month-long stay at the International S ce Station, delivering critical shipment to the astronauts.
“Now, we get another opportunity to showcase this unique s cecraft’s flesh out ca bilities beyond its core cargo delivery function.»
As rt of the Saffire-II proof, nine different experimental material samples will be used to ignite a dash inside Cygnus to help researchers better understand flammability of these stuffs in a microgravity environment.
The experiment will be conducted remotely from the excuse sediment and the resulting data will be downloaded via telemetry.
The s cecraft will also use a NanoRacks deployer to spot various CubeSats into orbit to conduct meteorological research.
The OA-5 objective is scheduled for completion this Sunday when Cygnus is intended to kindle up safely upon re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.
Image: Orbital ATK’s Cygnus trainload s cecraft is seen from the Cupola module windows aboard the Intercontinental S ce Station. Photo: courtesy of Nasa.