Software Glitch Halts Cygnus' Space Station Approach

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A commercial cargo ship making a test flight to the International Space Station will not be reaching the outpost until at least Tuesday due to a computer software glitch that halted its approach on Sunday.

Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus spacecraft had been scheduled to rendezvous with the space station on Sunday morning, following four days of inflight testing. The capsule blasted off aboard an Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia, on Wednesday.

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Cygnus successfully established radio contact with the station early Sunday morning, but the data, needed for navigation, was not what the capsule’s computer was expecting and rejected it, the company wrote in a statement posted on its website.

That, in turn, halted the capsule’s approach to the station. Cygnus was expected to position itself within reach of the station’s robotic crane about 7:15 a.m. EDT on Sunday so astronauts could attach it to a berthing port.

The next opportunity for Cygnus to rendezvous with the station is on Tuesday.

Orbital Sciences said it has found the cause of the problem and is developing a software fix.

 Image: Artist’s impression of the Cygnus capsule approaching the space station. Credit: Orbital Sciences

 

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