Washington, Sep 30: A privately-owned cargo ship operated by US space company Orbital Sciences Corp. completed its first rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) Sunday, NASA TV showed.
The unmanned Cygnus spacecraft was grappled by a robotic arm operated by astronauts inside the space station at about 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT), Xinhua reported. Cygnus will remain attached to the ISS for 30 days before departing with disposal cargo on board.
Mission controllers applauded loudly following the successful rendezvous. “Capture!!! #ISS arm grapples #Cygnus,” Orbital said in a tweet. “Smiles all around Orbital.”
The orbital arrival, which occurred a week later than planned due to a “a data format discrepancy” between the two vessels, is “flawless,” Orbital wrote later in a status update on its website.
Cygnus was launched to the space station Sep 18 on a demonstration mission of proving its capability to reliably deliver cargo, only carrying 1,300 pounds (589 kg) of food, clothing and other items.
Orbital is the second US company to send a commercial cargo craft to the space station.
SpaceX was the first company to send its own cargo ship with two successful commercial re-supply missions and two demonstration missions under its belt.