Northrop Grumman is expect to fly its first International Space Station resupply mission of 2019 in the spring with the launch of the NG-11 Cygnus spacecraft. It will lift off atop an Antares 230 rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia, and is expected to rendezvous and berth with the outpost several days later.
The NG-11 Cygnus is expected to launch at 20:46 UTC April 17, 2019, from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia. It set to bring 3,450 kilograms of cargo to the orbiting laboratory.
Following liftoff, it is planned to spend about 40 hours refining its orbit to catch up to and rendezvous with the International Space Station. Cygnus is expected to be captured by the station’s robotic Canadarm2 at around 9:30 UTC April 19.
Controlling the arm is expected to be Expedition 59 astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques of NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, respectively. Once captured, ground teams in Houston plan to command the arm to berth Cygnus at the Earth-facing port of the Unity module.
This particular Cygnus is named SS Roger Chaffee, after the fallen Apollo 1 astronaut who, along with Ed White and Gus Grissom, died Jan. 27, 1967, in a fire inside the Apollo 1 spacecraft during a “plugs-out” test on the launch pad about a month before their planned flight.
The NG-11 Cygnus spacecraft is also the final flight for Northrop Grumman under the original Commercial Resupply Services contract, also known as CRS1. Additional Cygnus flights will be performed under the CRS2 follow-up contract.