Today, NASA announced the successful release from the International Space Station of the Canadarm2, Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus commercial craft after three weeks at the International Space Station. The craft had been sent with payload for the ISS and as an experiment in capturing a craft to the space station using a robotic arm. Glitches in software had changed plans about the original capture and berthing procedures, but these glitches were corrected and the mission was completed successfully.
On Wednesday, the Cygnus will fire its engines for the last time at 1:41 p.m. and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere for a fiery destruction over the Pacific Ocean.
On November 6, Expedition 38/39 will send three Russian crew members to the International Space Station. They will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Their mission will include undocking of Soyuz TMA-09M, a previously launched space capsule, to make room for future berthing modules.
On November 18, NASA will launch the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The MAVEN will be the first mission devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. The mission's goal is to determine the role that loss of atmospheric gas to space played in changing the Martian climate through time.
On November 20, the ISS Progress 53 will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Progress 53 will carry supplies, hardware, fuel and water to the International Space Station.
On December 8, the Orbital 1 Commercial Resupply Services flight will launch from Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of Virginia. Orbital 1 will be the first commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station by Orbital Sciences. The company is one of the new breed of private space launch small- and medium-class space and rocket systems. They provide launches of satellites, spacecraft that perform remote sensing and scientific research, spacecraft used for national security missions, and planetary probes to explore deep space. Private industry launches for space exploration and supply missions have replaced NASA controlled space shuttle programs.
Two launches have been announced so far for 2014 by NASA.
In January, Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-L (TDRS-L) will launch from Cape Canaveral. TDRS-L is the second of three next-generation satellites designed to ensure vital operational continuity for the NASA Space Network.
In April, the Multipurpose Laboratory Module with European Robotic Arm (ERA) will launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. A Russian Proton rocket will deliver the Multipurpose Laboratory Module with European Robotic Arm (ERA) to the International Space Station.
Visit the NASA website for more information about space launches and activity in outer space.
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