After a textbook launch of their Antares rocket on September 18th, Orbital Science’s Cygnus resupply craft is on its way to dock with the ISS. It is currently scheduled to attach to the space station after the arrival of the next Soyuz capsule, which will bring crew replacements to the station.
As of September 26th, work is in progress to correct some software and data discrepancies between the ISS and Cygnus, and the cause of the problem has been identified. Testing of the solution is currently being carried out with the aid of a ground-based simulator. Fortunately, neither the craft nor the ISS are in any danger due to the malfunction.
While Cygnus was scheduled to dock before the Soyuz, it was determined that the docking order should be switched. This delay will actually work to the advantage of all concerned, since it will allow more time to test the Cygnus software patch as well as not cause the ISS crew to rush through the arrival of the new crew members.
The rendezvous, which will occur sometime after September 28th, will also allow time to correct the software issue aboard the craft. While awaiting the docking maneuver, Cygnus is undergoing a series of tests to demonstrate the agility of the craft for future resupply missions.
Remember, some problems are actually a blessing.
So congratulations to our friends at Orbital Sciences!
Cygnus successfully docked with the ISS the morning of September 29th. The hatch between to two craft should be opened as of September 30. Congratulations to Orbital Sciences!