NASA to air launch of Cygnus resupply mission to International Space Station

NASA has announced it plans to air the launch of commercial cargo provider Northrop Grumman´s next resupply mission to the International Space Station, the agency said.

Northrop Grumman´s 12th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will launch on November 2 with around 8,200 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew.

The Cygnus spacecraft, dubbed the SS Alan Bean, is named after the late Apollo and Skylab astronaut who died on May 26, 2018, at the age of 86. This Cygnus will launch 50 years to the month after Bean, Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon flew to the Moon on NASA´s Apollo 12 mission, during which Bean became the fourth human to walk on the lunar surface. Bean was the lunar module pilot aboard Intrepid with mission commander Conrad when they landed on Moon at the Ocean of Storms on Nov. 19, 1969.

The Cygnus spacecraft will arrive at the space station Monday, Nov. 4 at about 5:45 a.m., Expedition 61 NASA astronaut Jessica Meir will grapple the spacecraft using the station´s robotic arm. She will be backed up by NASA astronaut Christina Koch. After Cygnus capture, ground controllers will command the station´s arm to rotate and install Cygnus on the bottom of the station´s Unity module.

This will be the first mission under Northrop Grumman´s Commercial Resupply Services-2 contract with NASA, for which the company will fly a minimum of six missions to the International Space Station through 2024.