Watch Cygnus cargo ship arrive at space station early Wednesday
The private Cygnus cargo craft is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) early Wednesday morning (Nov. 9), and you can watch the action live.
Cygnus, a robotic freighter built by aerospace giant Northop Grumman, launched toward the ISS on Monday (Nov. 7) from Virginia. If all goes according to plan, astronauts will capture the vehicle using the orbiting lab’s robotic arm around 5:50 a.m. EST (1050 GMT).
You can watch the rendezvous and capture activities live here at Space.com, courtesy of NASA, beginning at 3:30 a.m. EST (0830 GMT). After a break, coverage of Cygnus’ installation aboard the International Space Station‘s Unity module will start airing at 7:15 a.m. EST (1215 GMT).
Related: Facts about the International Space Station
This Cygnus vehicle, named the SS Sally Ride after the famous NASA astronaut, is carrying about 4.1 tons (3.7 metric tons) of scientific experiments and supplies to the ISS — more than any other Cygnus has toted skyward.
The SS Sally Ride’s flight has not been perfectly smooth: The freighter managed to deploy just one of its two solar panels after liftoff. Its handlers say it can make the journey to the ISS safely regardless, but mission teams will be keeping an eye out for any signs of trouble as it approaches the orbiting lab.
“Northrop Grumman is working closely with NASA to monitor and assess the spacecraft ahead of tomorrow’s planned arrival, capture and installation at the space station,” NASA officials said in an update (opens in new tab) on Tuesday evening (Nov. 8). “Mission teams also are planning additional inspections of the cargo spacecraft during approach and after capture.”
Three different robotic spacecraft ferry cargo to the ISS these days: Cygnus, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule and Russia’s Progress vehicle.
Cygnus and Progress burn up in Earth’s atmosphere after completing their delivery missions, but Dragon comes back for safe ocean splashdowns and future reuse.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).