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NASA to Cover Northrop Grumman Cygnus Departure from Space Station

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo craft is pictured moments away from being captured by the Canadarm2 robotic arm controlled by NASA astronaut and Expedition 69 Flight Engineer Woody Hoburg from inside the International Space Station.

Northrop Grumman’s uncrewed Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to depart the International Space Station on Friday, Dec. 22, four months after delivering more than 8,200 pounds of supplies, scientific investigations, commercial products, hardware, and other cargo to the orbiting laboratory for NASA and its international partners.

Live coverage of the spacecraft’s departure will begin at 7:45 a.m. EST on the NASA+ streaming service via the web or NASA app. Coverage also will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.

Flight controllers on the ground will send commands for the space station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach Cygnus from the Unity module’s Earth-facing port, then maneuver the spacecraft into position for its release at 8:05 a.m. NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara will monitor Cygnus’ systems upon its departure from the space station.

Following a deorbit engine firing in early January, Cygnus will begin a planned destructive re-entry, in which the spacecraft – filled with trash packed by the station crew – will safely burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

Cygnus arrived at the space station Aug. 4 following a launch on Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. It was the company’s 19th commercial resupply services mission to the space station for NASA. Northrop Grumman named the spacecraft after the late NASA astronaut Laurel Clark.

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Learn more about Cygnus’ mission and the International Space Station at:


Joshua Finch
Headquarters, Washington

Sandra Jones
Johnson Space Center, Houston