Canadarm2 grapples the S.S. G. David Low
Mission type
COSPAR ID2013-051A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.39258
Mission duration35 days
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftS.S. G. David Low
BusStandard Cygnus[1]
Launch mass4,127 kg (9,098 lb)[2]
Payload mass700 kg (1,500 lb)[3]
Start of mission
Launch date18 September 2013, 14:58:02 UTC[4]
RocketAntares 110[1]
Launch siteWallops Pad 0A
End of mission
Decay date23 October 2013, 18:16 UTC
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit[5]
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Berthing at the International Space Station
Berthing portHarmony nadir
RMS capture29 September 2013, 11:00 UTC
Berthing date29 September 2013, 12:44 UTC
Unberthing date22 October 2013, 10:04 UTC
RMS release22 October 2013, 11:31 UTC
Time berthed22 days, 21 hours, 20 minutes

Orbital mission patch  

Orbital-D1,[6] also known as Orb-D1,[7][8] and Cygnus 1,[9] was the first flight of the Cygnus cargo spacecraft developed by Orbital Sciences Corporation. It was named after the late NASA astronaut and Orbital Sciences executive G. David Low. The flight was carried out by Orbital Sciences under contract to NASA as Cygnus' demonstration mission in the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. The mission launched on 18 September 2013 at 14:58:02 UTC. Cygnus was the seventh type of spacecraft to visit the International Space Station (ISS), after the crewed Soyuz and Space Shuttle, and uncrewed Progress, ATV, HTV and Dragon 1.


Main article: Cygnus (spacecraft)

The Cygnus Orb-D1 mission was the first flight of the Cygnus spacecraft and used the standard configuration with a Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM),[2] built by Thales Alenia Space, in Italy.[10]

Orbital named this mission's Cygnus spacecraft the G. David Low after the former NASA astronaut and Orbital employee who died of cancer on 15 March 2008.[11][12] During a media briefing for the Cygnus Orb-1 mission, Orbital Sciences executive vice president Frank Culbertson stated, "We were very proud to name that [Cygnus] the G. David Low".[13]

Launch and early operations

Cygnus Orb-D1 was launched by an Antares 110 launch vehicle flying from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS).[1] The launch took place at 14:58:02 UTC on 18 September 2013, and successfully inserted the Cygnus into low Earth orbit. The launch marked the second flight of the Antares launch vehicle and the final flight of the interim Antares 110 configuration.[4][14]

ISS rendezvous

Rendezvous with the ISS was originally scheduled for the fourth day of the mission. However, the rendezvous was postponed due to a computer data link problem.[15] The exact error related to small discrepancies between the way the ISS and Cygnus each use GPS for timekeeping purposes.[16] A further delay was necessary to allow for the arrival of Soyuz TMA-10M with three new ISS crew members.[17]

A week late, the spacecraft conducted a series of navigation, control and safety tests as it approached the station. Following the successful completion of ten test objectives, the spacecraft was cleared to make its final approach, holding 12 m (39 ft) below the ISS. Then, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano grappled it at 11:00 UTC, on 29 September 2013, using the Canadarm2 Mobile Servicing System (MSS) [8] as the two spacecraft sailed high above the Indian Ocean.[18] Cygnus was berthed to the nadir port of the station's Harmony node.[8]


Cygnus Orb-D1 carried 700 kg (1,500 lb) of cargo to the ISS, including food and spare parts.[3] After unloading, the spacecraft was loaded with 1,290 kg (2,840 lb) of cargo for disposal.[19]

End of mission

On 22 October 2013, the Canadarm2 was used to unberth the Cygnus spacecraft from the nadir port of the Harmony module at 10:04 UTC. The spacecraft was then maneuvered to a release position below the station, where it was released from the RMS at 11:31 UTC. It then performed a series of separation maneuvers away from the station. The spacecraft fired its main engine to de-orbit itself on 23 October 2013 at 17:41 UTC, with reentry and burning up in the atmosphere over the southern Pacific Ocean occurring at 18:16 UTC.[20][21]



  1. ^ a b c Bergin, Chris (22 February 2012). "Space industry giants Orbital upbeat ahead of Antares debut". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Cygnus PCM". Gunter's Space Page. 11 December 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Cygnus launch cargo". Spaceflight Now. 14 September 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Antares - Cygnus Orb-D1 Launch". Spaceflight 101. 18 September 2013. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  5. ^ "CYGNUS". N2YO.com. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  6. ^ "Orbital D-1". ISS National Lab. September 2013. Archived from the original on 25 May 2021. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  7. ^ "ISS Daily Summary Report – 09/16/13". NASA. 16 September 2013. Archived from the original on 25 May 2021. Retrieved 25 May 2021. Orbital-D1 (Orb-D1) Launch Preparations...
  8. ^ a b c "COTS Orb-D1 Mission Description" (PDF). Orbital Sciences. 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  9. ^ "Worldwide Launch Schedule". Spaceflight Now. 3 October 2012. Archived from the original on 11 September 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  10. ^ "Cygnus Spacecraft: Cygnus Overview" (PDF). Orbital Sciences. 14 September 2013.
  11. ^ Harwood, William (29 September 2013). "Cygnus cargo ship captured by International Space Station". CBS News. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  12. ^ Holley, Joe (20 March 2008). "G. David Low, 52: Cerebral Astronaut Flew on 3 Shuttles". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  13. ^ Pearlman, Robert Z. (9 December 2013). "Orbital names next space station freighter for late pilot-astronaut". collectSPACE. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  14. ^ "Cygnus Orb-D1 Mission Status Center". Spaceflight Now. 18 September 2013.
  15. ^ Dunn, Marsha (22 September 2013). "Computer mishap delays space station supply ship Cygnus". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  16. ^ Bergin, Chris; Harding, Pete (21 September 2013). "Cygnus delays ISS berthing following GPS discrepancy". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  17. ^ Kramer, Miriam (23 September 2013). "Cygnus spacecraft's arrival at space station delayed by incoming crew". NBC News. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  18. ^ Hardwood, William (29 September 2013). "Cygnus cargo ship captured by International Space Station". CBS News. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  19. ^ Clark, Stephen (22 October 2013). "Cygnus completes maiden visit to space station". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  20. ^ "Canadarm2 Releases Cygnus After Successful Demonstration Mission". NASA. 22 October 2013. Archived from the original on 24 October 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  21. ^ Beneski, Barron (23 October 2013). "Orbital Completes COTS Demonstration Mission to International Space Station" (Press release). Orbital Sciences. Retrieved 24 October 2013.