Cygnus arrival delayed until this weekend

All had been going well for Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Cygnus spacecraft since its launch Wednesday on the company’s Antares rocket. The mission, though, hit a snag Sunday, when Cygnus made contact with the ISS and received data from it. There was a “data format discrepancy,” in the words of an Orbital statement, between the data received from the station’s navigation system and what Cygnus was programmed to receive, so Sunday’s arrival was scrubbed and rescheduled for Tuesday.

On Monday, the company said that while they had developed and tested a software fix to resolve Sunday’s glitch, they were postponing the next attempted rendezvous until Saturday. This time, it’s not a problem with Cygnus itself. Instead, a Soyuz spacecraft, carrying three new ISS crewmembers, is scheduled for launch just before 5 pm EDT (2100 GMT) Wednesday, docking with the station less than six hours later. That “resulted in a tight schedule to the point that both Orbital and NASA felt it was the right decision to postpone the Cygnus approach and rendezvous until after Soyuz operations,” NASA said in a statement. Arrival is now planned for no earlier than Saturday; an exact schedule will come after the Soyuz arrives at the station.

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