Cygnus Docking Delayed

An Orbital Science Slide from a press briefing on 4 September Showing some of the test points for objectives that must be met before docking. Click for larger. Credit: Orbital Science.

An Orbital Science Slide from a press briefing on 4 September Showing some of the test points for objectives that must be met before docking. Click for larger. Credit: Orbital Science.

Orbital’s Cygnus cargo ship docking to the ISS has been delayed due to an unspecified software problem.

The Cygnus had established direct data communications with the International Space Station at which time some of the data values received by Cygnus had unexpected values. Those unexpected values caused Cygnus to reject the data and an interruption of the approach sequence was necessary.

The cause of the data problem has been discovered by Orbital and they have a developed a fix.

The next docking attempt will occur no earlier than September 28th due to Wednesday’s launch of a Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome bringing Michael Hopkins of NASA and Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency to the ISS.  More about that Wednesday.

When docking time does come, Cygnus being a new cargo craft it must as any new cargo craft that is to dock with the ISS must pass a series of objectives in order to prove it is capable. At each of the test points used to measure the objectives a go or no-go order is given by mission controllers before it can proceed to the next point (see image above). There are three more test points between 250 meters and capture. It is only after all of those tests or objectives are met it can then be captured or docked.

 

See all of the images from the press briefing where the above image came from.

 

 

5 thoughts on “Cygnus Docking Delayed

  1. I hope the glitches get worked out. Its been a long time in coming to see the private sector getting involved in space. I hope more of it is coming.

  2. There is something seriously wrong with this slide.

    Let me explain. I took a look at this slide and I thought: Wait, what? Is this the slide for the departure? As I write from left to right, I expect that things progress from left to right as time passes. Furthermore, the ISS passes from West to East, and if you would project the path on a map – e.g. like in they do on those big screens in mission control – you would see an spacecraft like cygnus progress from left to write.

    But the progress the Cygnus capsule makes is from bottom right to top left!

    And to stay in the theme, the part of the ISS facing front (node 2 with KIBO) is facing left, while the side facing back (russian orbital segment) is on the right. So in this slide the ISS is traveling from right to left as well.

    If I wanted to make a confusing slide, that’s the way I would do it – if I wanted to make easily graspable slides, I’d avoid that.

    Now that might have been an mistake from someone doing some PR and not involved in the development of the spacecraft – but it is simple mistakes like “the sign in an calculation was wrong” (as in the original Murphy’s law) that results in lost spacecraft…

  3. Ah, Tony I don’t know if you watched the docking, turns out there are retreat maneuvers built in to the flight, these are part of the demonstration and probably explain the graphic.

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