NASA to Cover Northrop Grumman’s 20th Cygnus Cargo Departure from ISS

NASA, Northrop Grumman, Cygnus spacecraft, ISS, International Space Station, cargo mission, resupply mission, KREPE-2 experiment, space exploration, NASA TV, live coverage

Join NASA as it covers the departure of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft from the International Space Station on July 12. Discover the mission’s significance, scientific endeavors, and future implications for space exploration. Live coverage starts at 6:30 a.m. EDT on NASA TV and other platforms.

NASA to Cover Northrop Grumman’s 20th Cygnus Cargo Departure from ISS
NASA to Cover Northrop Grumman’s 20th Cygnus Cargo Departure from ISS

NASA to Cover Northrop Grumman’s 20th Cargo Space Station Departure

On Friday, July 12, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to depart from the International Space Station (ISS), marking the culmination of its 20th commercial resupply mission to the orbiting laboratory. Since its arrival on February 1, Cygnus has played a crucial role in delivering over 8,200 pounds of supplies, scientific investigations, commercial products, hardware, and other cargo to support NASA and its international partners aboard the ISS.

Mission Overview

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft, a reliable workhorse of NASA’s resupply missions, has been stationed at the ISS for five and a half months following its successful launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. This departure mission underscores the spacecraft’s pivotal role in maintaining the operational capabilities of the ISS by delivering essential cargo and supporting ongoing scientific research in microgravity.

Departure Coverage Details

Live coverage of Cygnus’ departure will commence at 6:30 a.m. EDT and can be accessed via NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. Viewers interested in witnessing this milestone event can stream NASA TV through various platforms, including social media channels. Flight controllers will orchestrate the detachment of Cygnus from the Unity module’s Earth-facing port using the space station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm. Following detachment, the spacecraft will be maneuvered into a safe position for release at 7 a.m. EDT, under the careful supervision of NASA astronaut Mike Barratt.

Scientific Endeavors: KREPE-2 Experiment

During its departure, Cygnus will host the Kentucky Re-entry Probe Experiment-2 (KREPE-2), aimed at conducting crucial measurements to validate a thermal protection system designed for spacecraft and its contents during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. This experiment highlights NASA’s ongoing commitment to advancing technologies that ensure the safe return of spacecraft and cargo from orbit.

Deorbit and Conclusion

After completing its mission, Cygnus will be filled with station crew-packed trash and commanded to deorbit on Saturday, July 13. This controlled re-entry will see the spacecraft safely burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, minimizing any potential debris risk. The disposal process is a routine part of managing the ISS’s sustainability and safety.

Significance of the Mission

The departure of Cygnus marks another successful chapter in NASA’s partnership with commercial spaceflight providers like Northrop Grumman. Through these collaborations, NASA continues to expand access to space while fostering innovation in cargo resupply missions to the ISS. Cygnus has consistently demonstrated its reliability and versatility in supporting the unique demands of scientific research and technology demonstrations conducted aboard the ISS.

Future Prospects and Space Exploration

Looking ahead, NASA remains committed to leveraging partnerships with private industry to enhance capabilities in low-Earth orbit and beyond. The agency’s Artemis program aims to return humans to the Moon, utilizing the knowledge and technologies gained from ISS operations and resupply missions like Cygnus. These endeavors are crucial steps towards achieving sustainable lunar exploration and preparing for future human missions to Mars.


The upcoming departure of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft from the International Space Station represents not just the conclusion of a successful resupply mission, but a testament to the ongoing collaboration between NASA and its commercial partners. As Cygnus prepares for its journey back to Earth, it leaves behind a legacy of scientific advancement, technological innovation, and international cooperation aboard the ISS. This mission reaffirms NASA’s commitment to expanding humanity’s presence in space while pushing the boundaries of scientific discovery and exploration.

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