NG-15
ISS-64 The Cygnus space freighter moments before its capture.jpg
Canadarm2 approaches the S.S. Katherine Johnson
NamesOA-15 (2016–2018)
Mission typeISS logistics
OperatorNorthrop Grumman
COSPAR ID2021-013A
SATCAT no.47689
WebsiteNG-15
Mission duration131 days, 7 hours, 53 minutes
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftS.S. Katherine Johnson
Spacecraft typeEnhanced Cygnus
Manufacturer
Start of mission
Launch date20 February 2021, at 17:36:50 UTC[1]
RocketAntares 230+
Launch siteWallops Pad 0A
ContractorNorthrop Grumman
End of mission
DisposalDeorbited
Decay date2 July 2021, at 01:30 UTC
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Inclination51.63°
Berthing at the International Space Station
Berthing portUnity nadir[2]
RMS capture22 February 2021, at 09:38 UTC [3]
Berthing date22 February 2021, 12:16 UTC[3]
Unberthing date29 June 2021 13:20 UTC
RMS release29 June 2021, at 16:32 UTC [4]
Time berthed127 days
Cargo
Mass3,810 kg (8,400 lb)
Pressurised3,734 kg (8,232 lb)
Unpressurised76 kg (168 lb)
Cygnus NG-15 Patch.png

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NG-15,[1][5][6] previously known as OA-15, was the fifteenth launch of the Northrop Grumman robotic resupply spacecraft Cygnus and its fourteenth flight to the International Space Station (ISS) under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. The mission launched on 20 February 2021 at 17:36:50 UTC.[1][7] This is the fourth launch of Cygnus under the CRS-2 contract.[8][9]

Orbital ATK (now Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems) 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, Orbital ATK designed, acquired, built, and assembled these components: Antares, a medium-class launch vehicle; Cygnus, an advanced spacecraft using a Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM) provided by industrial partner Thales Alenia Space of Turin, Italy, and a Service Module based on the Orbital GEOStar satellite bus.[10]

History

Launch of the Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus spacecraft
Launch of the Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus spacecraft

NASA held a pre-launch briefing for the Northrop Grumman Cygnus NG-15 cargo launch to the International Space Station (ISS) on 19 February 2021 at 16:00 UTC. Late cargo loading concluded on 19 February 2021. The Cygnus NG-15 spacecraft launched the next day at 17:36:50 UTC on an Antares launch vehicle from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia. Cygnus NG-15 is the fourth Cygnus mission under the Commercial Resupply Services-2 contract. Production and integration of Cygnus spacecraft are 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 in Dulles, Virginia and Houston, Texas.[10]

Spacecraft

Main article: Cygnus (spacecraft)

The Cygnus spacecraft is mated with the Antares rocket on 8 February 2021.
The Cygnus spacecraft is mated with the Antares rocket on 8 February 2021.

This was the tenth flight of the Enhanced-sized Cygnus PCM (Pressurized Cargo Module).[11] On 1 February 2021, the start of Black History Month, Northrop Grumman announced the name of Katherine Johnson, NASA mathematician, as the name of the Cygnus spacecraft.[9][12]

Manifest

Cargo being loaded into the Cygnus in February 2021.
Cargo being loaded into the Cygnus in February 2021.

Cygnus spacecraft is loaded with 3,810 kg (8,400 lb) of research, hardware, and crew supplies.[5][6][13][14] This is the heaviest CRS cargo launch for NASA to ISS.[15]

Hardware

NASA provided the following breakdown of the cargo's hardware for ISS:[5]

Research

The new experiments arriving at the orbiting laboratory on the Cygnus NG-15 mission supports science from human health to high-powered computing, and utilizes the space station as a proving ground for the technologies needed for future missions to the Moon and on to Mars.[5][14]

Cubesats

ELaNa 33, Educational Launch of Nanosatellites, will deploy the following CubeSats from ISS:[16]

Nanoracks deployer: two CubeSats released via Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer, on 30 June 2021 at 22:50 UTC,[17] including IT-SPINS and MySat-2 (Dhabisat-2), the second CubeSat developed by Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. MySat-2 was developed as part of Khalifa's Space Systems and Technology Concentration, a joint program established in 2015 with UAE-based satellite operator Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) and Northrop Grumman.

GuaraniSat 1: the first satellite of Paraguay. The space agency of Paraguay says the CubeSat was developed in partnership with engineers in Japan and universities and research centers in Paraguay.[18]

ThinSat-2: 42 satellites as part of a STEM outreach program (for grades 4-12 and through the university level) by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority. These was launched from the Antares second stage, with Cygnus.

Deorbited

Once its mission has been completed, Cygnus will perform a safe, destructive reentry into atmosphere of Earth over the Pacific Ocean.[19]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Antares rocket launches heavy cargo load to International Space Station". Spaceflight Now. 20 February 2021. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  2. ^ "NASA TV Coverage Set for Next Cargo Launch to Space Station". NASA. 18 February 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ a b "Cygnus Resupply Ship Bolted to Station's Unity Module". NASA. 22 February 2021. Retrieved 23 February 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ "Cygnus supply ship departs space station after four-month mission". Spaceflight Now. 29 June 2021. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d "Overview CRS-15 (NG-15) Mission" (PDF). NASA. 18 February 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. ^ a b "Cygnus NG-15 Mission Profile" (PDF). Northrop Grumman. 1 February 2021. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  7. ^ Powers, Kelly. "Worm muscles, artificial retinas, space laptops: NASA Wallops launches rocket to ISS". Dover Post. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  8. ^ Gebhardt, Chris (1 June 2018). "Orbital ATK looks ahead to CRS-2 Cygnus flights, Antares on the commercial market". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Cygnus NG-15 Mission Page". Northrop Grumman. 26 January 2021. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Cygnus Spacecraft". Northrop Grumman. 6 January 2020. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  11. ^ Leone, Dan (17 August 2015). "NASA Orders Two More ISS Cargo Missions From Orbital ATK". SpaceNews. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Northrop Grumman names NG-15 Cygnus spacecraft in honor of Katherine Johnson". The Herald-Dispatch. 1 February 2021. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  13. ^ "Northrop Grumman Commercial Resupply". ISS Program Office. NASA. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 27 September 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  14. ^ a b Howell, Elizabeth (1 February 2021). "Northrop Grumman to launch next Cygnus cargo ship for NASA on February 20". SPACE.com. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  15. ^ Clark, Stephen (19 February 2021). "Antares rocket loaded with time-sensitive cargo for launch to space station Saturday". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  16. ^ "Upcoming ELaNa CubeSat Launches". NASA. 6 May 2020. Retrieved 7 May 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  17. ^ "Nanoracks Ninth CubeSat Deployment Mission From the Cygnus". Nanoracks. 30 June 2021. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  18. ^ Clark, Stephen (20 February 2021). "Antares rocket launches heavy cargo load to International Space Station". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  19. ^ "Cygnus NG-15 Mission" (PDF). Northrop Grumman. Retrieved 2 February 2021.