Orbital ATK‘s cargo ship Cygnus is set to proceed with three in-orbit scientific missions after the spacecraft completed its mission to deliver around 7,900 pounds of supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.
Cygnus, nicknamed S.S. Rick Husband, departed from the orbiting laboratory Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time after an 81-day stay there, Orbital ATK said Tuesday.
The OA-6 mission represents the company’s fifth mission under a Commercial Resupply Services-1 contract with NASA.
The spacecraft launched March 22 on a United Launch Alliance-built Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and reached the space station March 26.
“The next phase of this mission marks the first time that Cygnus will serve as a research platform to support science experiments that enable deep space exploration,” said Frank Culbertson, president of Orbital ATK’s space systems group.
The company noted NASA engineers will remotely perform the Spacecraft Fire Experiment in an effort to study the behavior of large-scale fire in space
After that, Cygnus will aim to deploy five CubeSats into orbit with NanoRacks-made satellite deployer platform then will conduct the Reentry Breakup Recorder test when it re-enters Earth's atmosphere.
Cygnus is expected to descent June 22 with 4,087 pounds of cargo for disposal and data from the onboard experiments.