Canadarm2 approaches the S.S. Alan Bean
NamesOA-12 (2016–2018)
Mission typeISS logistics
OperatorNorthrop Grumman
COSPAR ID2019-071A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.44701
Mission duration136 days, 9 hours
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftS.S. Alan Bean
Spacecraft typeEnhanced Cygnus
Start of mission
Launch date2 November 2019, 13:59:47 UTC[1]
RocketAntares 230+
Launch siteWallops Pad 0A
ContractorNorthrop Grumman
End of mission
Decay date17 March 2020, 23:00 UTC[2]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Berthing at the International Space Station
Berthing portUnity nadir
RMS capture4 November 2019, 09:10 UTC[3]
Berthing date4 November 2019, 11:21 UTC[4]
Unberthing date31 January 2020, 13:10 UTC
RMS release31 January 2020, 14:36 UTC
Time berthed88 days, 3 hours, 15 minutes
Mass3,705 kg (8,168 lb)[5]
Pressurised3,586 kg (7,906 lb)
Unpressurised119 kg (262 lb)

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NG-12, previously known as OA-12, was the thirteenth flight of the Northrop Grumman robotic resupply spacecraft Cygnus and its twelfth Commercial Resupply Services flight to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA.[6][7] The mission launched on 2 November 2019 at 13:59:47 UTC).[1] This was the first launch of Cygnus under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract.[8]

Orbital ATK and NASA jointly developed a new space transportation system to provide commercial cargo resupply services to the International Space Station (ISS). Under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, then Orbital Sciences designed and built Antares, a medium-class launch vehicle; Cygnus, an advanced maneuvering spacecraft, and a Pressurized Cargo Module which is provided by Orbital's industrial partner Thales Alenia Space.[9] Northrop Grumman purchased Orbital ATK in June 2018; its ATK division was renamed Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.[10]

Northrop Grumman launches the Cygnus NG-12 mission.


Cygnus NG-12 was the first mission under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract and launched 2 November 2019 at 13:59:47 UTC.[1]


Main article: Cygnus (spacecraft)

Production and integration of Cygnus spacecraft is performed in Dulles, Virginia. The Cygnus service module is mated with the pressurized cargo module at the launch site, and mission operations are conducted from control centers at Dulles, Virginia and Houston, Texas.[9] This is the ninth flight of the Enhanced-sized Cygnus PCM.[11]

In 2019, the spacecraft was named the S.S. Alan Bean.[12]


Total weight of cargo: 3,705 kg (8,168 lb), consisting of 3,705 kg (8,168 lb) in pressurized cargo and 119 kg (262 lb) in unpressurized cargo.[5]

Among the cargo delivered was a special made oven for use in space, and some cookie dough. The crew of ISS attempt to use the device to bake chocolate chip cookies in space (a first time for this kind of space activity). The baking of cookies in space attracted some international media attention when the mission was arriving at the space station.[3][13][14]

Another research-related item delivered is the AstroRad radiation protective vest, which astronauts will wear to determine the degree of flexibility and freedom of movements experienced by them while working with these vests.[9] This feedback will be used to possibly improve the comfort and ergonomics of the radiation vests if needed. AstroRad is useful in significantly reducing the short-term deterministic effects such as acute radiation syndrome and the probability of stochastic effects such as cancer in long-term ex-LEO missions.[15][16]

The Houston Methodist Institute, in collaboration with Lamborghini sent some carbon fiber reinforced polymers aboard the mission. The project seeks to leverage the harsh space environment to test the performance of five proprietary carbon fiber materials, including forged and 3D-printed carbon fiber composites, developed by Lamborghini for aerospace applications. The research team will assess the ability of the materials to withstand exposure to temperature fluctuations, radiation, and atomic oxygen.[17]

Cygnus NG-12 tested the Cygnus External Payload Carrier which is used to deliver external payloads to the station or remove degraded ones. SOLAR and the SDS were the first payloads transferred to the spacecraft for disposal.[18]


Northrop Grumman's customer with a payload on the Cygnus (Lynk) sought extra time in orbit, a request that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved on 3 March 2020. The FCC approval provided the potential to extend this testing until as late as 2 April 2020. "The extension of our license by the FCC allows Northrop Grumman to extend our NG-12 mission beyond our original completion date, enabling us to offer increased operational flexibility for our customers". Frank DeMauro, vice president and general manager of Tactical Space at Northrop Grumman, said in the statement. "The NG-12 spacecraft remains in excellent health as we carry out a few more weeks of in-orbit operations".[19]

The spacecraft was deorbited at about 23:00 UTC on 17 March 2020.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Gebhardt, Chris (4 November 2019). "Cygnus NG-12 arrives at ISS with increased science capability". Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b McDowell [@planet4589] (18 March 2020). "Space-Track confirmes that the Cygnus NG-12 cargo ship S.S. Alan Bean has been deorbited" (Tweet). Retrieved 5 November 2022 – via Twitter.
  3. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (4 November 2019). "Space station receives spacewalking gear, new baking oven". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  4. ^ Garcia, Mark (4 November 2019). "Cygnus Resupply Ship Attached to Unity for Cargo Operations". NASA. Retrieved 4 November 2019. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ a b "Northrop Grumman CRS-12 Mission Overview" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 5 November 2019. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. ^ "Worldwide launch schedule". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  7. ^ "International Space Station Flight Schedule". Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. 15 May 2013.
  8. ^ Gebhardt, Chris (1 June 2018). "Orbital ATK looks ahead to CRS2 Cygnus flights, Antares on the commercial market". Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  9. ^ a b c "Cygnus Fact Sheet" (PDF). Orbital ATK. 24 March 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  10. ^ Erwin, Sandra (5 June 2018). "Acquisition of Orbital ATK approved, company renamed Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems". SpaceNews. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  11. ^ Leone, Dan (17 August 2015). "NASA Orders Two More ISS Cargo Missions From Orbital ATK". SpaceNews. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  12. ^ "Northrop Grumman names 12th Cygnus ship for Apollo 12 astronaut". collectSPACE. 24 October 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  13. ^ "Cookies in space: Oven sent to ISS for baking experiments". BBC. 2 November 2019. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  14. ^ Waldrop, Theresa (3 November 2019). "Out of this world dessert: Cookie dough and oven headed to space station". CNN. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  15. ^ Hu, Shaowen; Kim, Myung-Hee Y.; McClellan, Gene E.; Cucinotta, Francis A. (April 2009). "Modeling the Acute Health Effects of Astronauts from Exposure to Large Solar Particle Events". Health Physics. 96 (4): 465–476. doi:10.1097/01.HP.0000339020.92837.61. hdl:2060/20110014511. ISSN 0017-9078. PMID 19276707. S2CID 24011927.
  16. ^ Cucinotta, Francis A; Durante, Marco (May 2006). "Cancer risk from exposure to galactic cosmic rays: implications for space exploration by human beings". The Lancet Oncology. 7 (5): 431–435. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(06)70695-7. PMID 16648048.
  17. ^ "Testing Lamborghini Carbon-Fiber Composites in the Extreme Space Environment". ISS National Laboratory. 8 November 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  18. ^ Clark, Stephen. "Cygnus departs space station, deploys CubeSats". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  19. ^ Foust, Jeff (4 March 2020). "Cygnus mission extended for tests of communications payload". SpaceNews.