Orbital ATK’s Cygnus successfully berthed to ISS

Onboard Cygnus were four Spire LEMUR-2 CubeSats, part of the Spire Global Inc. remote sensing satellite constellation that provides global ship tracking and weather monitoring.

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Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft successfully berthed to the International Space Station (ISS) early Sunday October 23, after launching Monday evening, October 17, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia.

Onboard Cygnus were four Spire LEMUR-2 CubeSats, part of the Spire Global Inc. (San Francisco, Calif.) remote sensing satellite constellation that provides global ship tracking and weather monitoring. Ninety percent of global trade is said to ship by sea. The LEMUR-2 CubeSats launched in a NanoRacks External Deployer that was installed on the exterior of the Cygnus service module. The External Deployer has the capability to deploy satellites after Cygnus completes its primary ISS resupply mission.

NanoRacks LLC (Houston, Texas, and Washington D.C.) was formed in 2009 to provide commercial hardware and services for the U.S. National Laboratory on the ISS. NanoRacks’ Black Box, its NextGen research platform, containing educational research experiments, was inside the Cygnus vehicle, and will be installed in the U.S. National Laboratory onboard ISS.

One payload in the Black Box platform includes a 3D printed Cyton Gamma 300 robotic arm (from Robai, Cambridge, Mass.) made with 3D printed structural parts, pinch guards and cosmetic covers using ABSPlus thermoplastics from Stratasys Inc. (Eden Prarie, Minn.)

NanoRacks is adding to the U.S. National Laboratory research capacity by its Black Box internal payload platform, part of its series of next generation ISS platforms. This new platform is specially designed to provide near-launch payload turnover of autonomous payloads while providing advanced science capabilities for customers, including use of robotics, new automated MixStix and NanoLab-style research. Black Box is a locker-sized platform that accommodates up to 18U of payloads..