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Northrop Grumman marks 20th ISS resupply mission with Cygnus launch
NG-20 launch - image by C&J Images.
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Northrop Grumman marks 20th ISS resupply mission with Cygnus launch
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jan 31, 2024

Northrop Grumman has launched its 20th cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS), solidifying its role in ongoing space logistics and exploration. The mission, designated NG-20, was carried out using SpaceX's renowned Falcon 9 rocket. This launch, taking place from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, marks a significant milestone in Northrop Grumman's history of space missions.

Cyrus Dhalla, Vice President and General Manager of Tactical Space Systems at Northrop Grumman, highlighted the importance of this mission: "This mission reflects Cygnus's flexibility to launch on a variety of launch vehicles, demonstrating our ability to deliver on our commitments to support NASA's mission. With a decade of experience in cargo and logistics services, Northrop Grumman will continue supporting missions on the International Space Station and future civil and commercial exploration."

The Cygnus spacecraft, a cornerstone of Northrop Grumman's space endeavors, is known for being named in honor of individuals who have significantly contributed to human spaceflight. The NG-20 Cygnus celebrates Dr. Patricia "Patty" Hilliard Robertson, a medical doctor, NASA astronaut, and passionate aerobatic pilot. Dr. Robertson's dedication to space medicine and her role in human spaceflight are commemorated through this mission. She tragically passed away in 2001, prior to her scheduled mission to the ISS in 2002, marking a significant loss to the space community.

This mission, part of NASA's Commercial Resupply Service-2 (CRS-2) contract, is not just a routine supply run. Cygnus is ferrying over 8,200 pounds of essential supplies, equipment, and scientific experiments to the astronauts aboard the ISS. These resources are crucial for the continuation of scientific research and the maintenance of the space station.

After its planned rendezvous with the ISS on February 1, the spacecraft will remain attached to the station for up to six months, providing not only supplies but also offering additional services. One such service is the reboosting of the station's orbit, countering the atmospheric drag the ISS experiences. This capability is unique to Northrop Grumman's Cygnus, making it the only U.S. spacecraft currently able to perform this essential function for the ISS.

The success of the Cygnus spacecraft also underscores Northrop Grumman's capabilities in vertical integration. The spacecraft features several key components manufactured by the company, such as the spacecraft structures, propellant tanks, UltraFlex solar arrays, and loop heat pipe radiators for thermal control. These elements are testament to Northrop Grumman's technological prowess and commitment to advancing space technology.

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SpaceX launches 20th Northrop Grumman ISS resupply mission
Washington DC (UPI) Jan 30, 2024
NASA, Northrop Grumman and SpaceX launched the 20th Northrop Grumman resupply mission to the International Space Station Tuesday. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket carrying Northrop Grumman's Cygnus resupply spacecraft took off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 12:07 p.m. EST. Falcon 9's first stage craft detached from Cygnus and touched back down at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at approximately 12:17 p.m. This was Falcon 9's 10th flight supporting the ISS. The Sp ... read more

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