A private cargo spacecraft will leave the International Space Station (ISS) early Tuesday (June 28) and you can watch the departure directly.
Northop Grummans robot Cygnus The cargo ship is scheduled to leave the track laboratory at 06:05 EDT (1005) on Tuesday. Watch it directly here on Space.com, with permission from NASA, or directly through the space agency; coverage begins at 05.45 EDT (0945 GMT).
The Cygnus – called SS Piers Sellersafter the late NASA astronaut and climate scientist – arrived International Space Station with more than 8,300 pounds (3,760 kilograms) of scientific experiments and other supplies on 21 February.
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SS Piers Sellers leaves in a high tone. Just a day or so before the scheduled departure, the cargo ship fired the main engine to increase the altitude of the ISS. The maneuver was a milestone moment, and showed that the Cygnus spacecraft can handle ISS reinforcements, which to date have been handled by Russian Progress spacecraft.
“This reinforcement of the ISS using Cygnus adds a critical ability to help maintain and support the space station,” said Steve Krein, vice president of civil and commercial space, tactical space systems at Northrop Grumman. said in a statement (opens in new tab). “It also demonstrates the enormous capacity Cygnus offers ISS and future space exploration.”
SS Piers Sellers will fire up its engine again on Wednesday (June 29) in a deorbit combustion, which will set it on course for a destructive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. (Unlike SpaceX Dragon reusable cargo capsule burns the Cygnus and Progress spacecraft when their missions are completed.)
SS Piers Sellers was the 17th Cygnus to fly to the space station. The departure of the spacecraft will take place only 10 minutes after another space event – the launch of NASA’s CAPSTONE lunar mission, which is scheduled to be launched aboard an electron rocket on Tuesday at 5:55 EDT (0955 GMT). You can watch the launch here on Space.com as well.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out there (opens in new tab)“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).