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Cygnus Launch Now Set for Thursday; Light Duty Day on Station
January 8, 2014

[image-78]Orbital Sciences Corporation confirmed Wednesday that it will proceed with a 1:07 p.m. EST launch attempt of the Orbital-1 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station on Thursday, Jan. 9, pending closeout of all remaining pre-launch reviews and tests. Orbital conducted a comprehensive review of data related to the radiation environment in space, further reviews and modeling of the rocket’s avionics systems, and the forecast for favorable terrestrial weather conditions at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va. Upon a deeper examination of the current space weather environment, Orbital’s engineering team, in consultation with NASA, determined that the risk to launch success is within acceptable limits established at the outset of the Antares program.

NASA Television coverage of launch will begin at 12:45 p.m. EST. A post-launch news conference would follow at approximately 2:30 p.m. A Thursday launch would result in the Cygnus spacecraft arriving at the ISS on early Sunday, Jan. 12. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and berthing will begin at 5 a.m. EST for a 6:02 a.m. capture. Coverage of installation of Cygnus will begin at 7 a.m. EST.

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Orbital Sciences decided to scrub the Wednesday launch attempt of the Antares rocket and the Cygnus cargo spacecraft on the company’s first resupply mission to the station due to an unusually high level of space radiation that exceeded constraints imposed on Antares.

The solar flux activity that occurred late Tuesday afternoon resulted in an increasing level of radiation beyond what the Antares engineering team monitored earlier in the day.  Overnight, Orbital’s engineers conducted an analysis of the radiation levels, but the Antares team decided to postpone the launch to further examine the potential effects of the space radiation on the rocket’s avionics. The Cygnus spacecraft would not be affected by the solar event.

At Mission Control in Houston, the flight control team reported that the station’s Expedition 38 crew was not affected by this solar event and did not require any special precautionary measures.

For Flight Engineers Mike Hopkins, Koichi Wakata and Rick Mastracchio, Wednesday was a mostly off-duty day aboard the complex as they took a welcome opportunity for a breather between the holiday spacewalks in late December and the upcoming arrival of Cygnus. When the space freighter arrives at the station with its 2,780 pounds of cargo, Hopkins and Wakata will use Canadarm2, the station’s 57-foot robotic arm, to reach out and grapple Cygnus and berth it to its docking port on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony node.

Hopkins spent some time changing out a recycle tank in the Environmental Control and Life Support System’s Water Recovery System, which recycles condensation and urine into drinkable water, thereby reducing the amount of fresh water that must be sent to the crew aboard resupply ships.

Hopkins and Wakata also had an opportunity to talk with students around the world through the station’s amateur radio. Wakata reached out to students in Poland and Italy, while Hopkins made contact with Berkeley Middle School in Williamsburg, Va.

[image-51]On the Russian side of the complex, Commander Oleg Kotov spent some time packing trash inside the ISS Progress 52 cargo ship. That unmanned cargo vehicle is set to undock from the Pirs docking compartment in early February for a destructive re-entry over the Pacific ocean.

Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin collected dosimeter readings for the Matryoshka experiment. Named after the traditional Russian nesting dolls, Matryoshka analyzes the radiation environment onboard the station. Afterward he and Kotov replaced lights in the Russian segment.

Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy conducted the Albedo experiment, which takes a look at using the solar radiation reflected from the Earth to provide power for the station. He also participated in the Coulomb Crystal experiment, gathering data about charged particles in a weightless environment.

Ryazanskiy rounded out the day performing routine maintenance on the life-support system inside the Zvezda service module.

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Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy
Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy, Expedition 38 flight engineer, works in the Zvezda Service Module of the International Space Station.
Image Credit: 
NASA
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Antares
An Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket is seen on launch Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wednesday.
Image Credit: 
NASA TV
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Page Last Updated: January 8th, 2014
Page Editor: Jerry Wright