Private US spacecraft docks with ISS
Washington: A privately-owned cargo ship, operated by US space company Orbital Sciences Corp., completed its first rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) Sunday, Xinhua reported citing NASA TV.
The unmanned Cygnus spacecraft was grappled by a robotic arm operated by astronauts inside the space station at about 11 a.m. GMT.
Mission controllers applauded loudly following the successful rendezvous.
"Capture!!! #ISS arm grapples #Cygnus," Orbital said in a tweet. "Smiles all around Orbital."
The spacecraft`s arrival, which occurred a week later than planned due to a "a data format discrepancy" between the two vessels, was "flawless", Orbital stated later in a status update on its website.
Cygnus will remain attached to the ISS for 30 days before departing with disposable cargo on board, Orbital said.
Cygnus was launched Sep 18 on a demonstration mission of proving its capability to reliably deliver cargo, only carrying 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.
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