Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Cygnus spacecraft, which delivered nearly one-and-a-half tons of supplies and scientific equipment to the International Space Station in January, completed its first commercial cargo mission to the orbiting laboratory Tuesday.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, with assistance from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, used the station’s 57-foot Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach Cygnus from the Earth-facing port of the Harmony node at 5:15 a.m. EST. While Wakata monitored data and kept in contact with the team at Houston’s Mission Control Center, Hopkins released Cygnus from the robotic arm at 6:41 a.m.
At the time of release, the station was orbiting about 260 miles over the southern Atlantic Ocean off the southeast coast of Argentina and Uruguay.
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