More than two months after delivering several plenty of supplies and scientific experiments to the International space platform , Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft, the SS Alan Bean, will depart the orbiting laboratory on Friday, Jan. 31.
Live coverage of the spacecraft’s release will air on NASA Television and therefore the agency’s website beginning at 9:15 a.m. EST, with release scheduled for 9:35 a.m.
Cygnus will demonstrate a replacement release position for departure operations and can incorporate the primary ground-controlled release. The new orientation allows for easier drift apart from the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm. With Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir of NASA providing backup support, ground controllers will send commands to the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release the unpiloted cargo spacecraft after ground controllers remotely unbolt the craft from the Earth-facing port of the Unity module and maneuver it into release position.
Within 24 hours of its release, Cygnus will begin its secondary mission – deploying a series of payloads – before Northrop Grumman flight controllers in Dulles, Virginia, initiate its deorbit and it executes a secure , destructive reentry into Earth’s atmosphere at the top of February.
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