non-inhabited Cygnus U.S. company Orbital Sciences, successfully launched Thursday its first supply the International Space Station (ISS) Mission capsule, scheduled to dock early Sunday at the orbital outpost.
is scheduled appointment at 12:15 GMT when Cygnus will be captured by the robotic arm of the station, Canadarm2, operated from the inside by two of the six ISS crew members, and after a final approach delicate which has started a few hours before.
docking of the capsule itself will be two hours (2:15 p.m. GMT) on the Harmony module, a pressurized conduit joining the European Columbus laboratory and the U.S. laboratory Destiny facing the Earth.
Cygnus Book 1260 pounds of scientific equipment for experiments which, among other ants to observe their behavior in microgravity, as well as material for the study of microbial resistance to antibiotics.
occupants of the ISS, three Russians, two Americans and one Japanese, will begin in the coming days to transfer the cargo to the ISS and Cygnus load with 1.8 tonnes of waste and used equipment.
Cygnus, which will remain docked at the station until February 18, then undock and be destroyed by falling into the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.
Unlike Dragon capsule company SpaceX, Cygnus can not return to Earth.
Initially planned for December, the launch of Cygnus from the center of Wallops Flight, located on an island near the coast of Virginia (east), was once postponed to January 8th due to the replacement, as urgent end of December, a defective pump on one of the two cooling circuits of the space station ammonia. The repair was carried out by two astronauts during two spacewalks just before Christmas.
The flight was then delayed for 24 hours on Thursday after solar flares Tuesday had created magnetic radiation may affect electronic systems of the Antares launcher.
This is the fifth flight of a private spaceship to the ISS. Orbital Sciences is one of two American firms, with SpaceX to have been chosen by the U.S. space agency to supply the orbiting outpost.
Orbital Sciences had already made a demonstration flight to the ISS in September.
NASA bets on partnerships in the private sector to reduce the access to LEO cost.
Under a contract of $ 1.9 billion with Orbital Sciences, the firm must deliver 20 tons of cargo to the ISS during eight flights scheduled until early 2016, three in 2014.
SpaceX has already made his next three missions to the station with its Dragon capsule, two cargo delivery under a contract of $ 1.6 billion with NASA. It must still carry ten cargo flights to the ISS by 2015.
SpaceX Dragon launch with its Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral base in Florida (southeast).
SpaceX, Boeing and Sierra Nevada were also selected by NASA to develop each a private vessel for transporting people to the station.
cargo, NASA also uses automatic vessels European ATV, Japanese HTV and Russian Progress, which are destroyed in the atmosphere after their mission.
These companies also saw their market transport to the ISS to increase significantly with the announcement Wednesday by NASA decision to extend for four years, until 2024, the life of the space station.
js / cj
© 2014 AFP. All rights reserved and of representation. All information displayed on this section (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights held by AFP. Therefore, none of this information may be reproduced, modified, redistributed, translated, exploited commercially or reused in any way whatsoever without the prior written consent of the AFP