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Saturday, September 7, 2013

KOUNOTORI 4 Clears the Way for Cygnus' Arrival...

Orbital Sciences' Cygnus freighter is mated to the company's Antares launch vehicle...in preparation for Cygnus' debut flight to the International Space Station on September 17, 2013.
Orbital Sciences / Dan Wiles

Last Wednesday, Japan's H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-4) departed from the International Space Station (ISS) after being berthed at the outpost for almost a month. With HTV-4's mission now concluded (with KOUNOTORI 4's fiery re-entry into our planet's atmosphere set for today), the next privately-made cargo freighter to venture to the ISS will be Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft—which will be berthed to the same (nadir) port on the station's Harmony module that HTV-4 was connected to. Cygnus is set to make its debut flight to low-Earth orbit on September 17...aboard an Antares rocket that will launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Orbital Sciences' Cygnus freighter is mated to the company's Antares launch vehicle...in preparation for Cygnus' debut flight to the International Space Station on September 17, 2013.
Orbital Sciences / Dan Wiles

KOUNOTORI 4 is grappled by the space station's robotic arm prior to being unberthed from the orbital outpost on September 4, 2013.
NASA

KOUNOTORI 4 floats above the Earth after being unberthed from the International Space Station on September 4, 2013.
NASA

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