NASA launches SS Kalpana Chawla Cygnus spacecraft to International Space station
The International Space Station (ISS) is gearing up to receive the flight which will supply thousands of kilograms essential space supplies and related-equipments to the astronauts. Northrop Grumman launched another flight to the International Space Station, this time named after late astronaut ‘Kalpana Chawla’. The Cygnus vehicle S.S Kalpana Chawla along with Antares rocket for NG-14 mission was launched on October 2nd, at 21.16 EDT (6.46 am IST).
Northrop Grumman further affirmed that they wanted to name their next Cygnus vehicle after someone who has played an instrumental role in space exploration and then decided to name it after Kalpana Chawla on her family’s permission.
The US vehicle is expected to reach the International Space Station after a 2 days journey and will deliver a cargo of 1,217 kg of science experiments, personal items and 850 kg of crew equipment. As per the information cited on the NASA Spaceflight website, the Cygnus vehicle will make an approach towards the space station from 10 meters below. Thereafter, the astronauts will connect the Cygnus to International Space Station through its robotic arm of Candarm2.
Along with 1,230 kg of vehicle hardware, it is also carrying 71 kg of Computer hardware. Once the cargo arm is detached, astronauts further plan to make Cygnus as a temporary scientific expansion to the International Space Station. Moreover, this space vehicle is also carrying ‘SharkSat’ which will test emerging technologies for 5G networks, as ascertained by Northrop Grumman.
In the end Cygnus will be detached through Candarm2 and will be going to conduct a ‘Sapphire’ experimentation for several weeks. As a part of the experiment, it will purposely initiate a fire in a safe and contained manner. The aim behind the experiment is to understand and infer the nature of fire and its behavior in Space.
This S.S Kalpana Chawla Cygnus spacecraft is made by Thale Alena Space in Turin, Italy and has a composition of pressurized cargo module. The vehicle consists of two solar arrays, navigation equipment and propulsion element. The launch of the vehicle was carried out by Antares 230+ rocket, parts of which have been built by Yuzmash factory in Ukraine.