JAXA’s Operations support for Cygnus spacecraft completed
March 7, 2018
The JAXA H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) “KOUNOTORI” Operation Control Team had long supported operations of the Cygnus spacecraft -the US unmanned resupply cargo ship.
Starting with Cygnus Orb D1 launched on Sept. 18, 2013, JAXA had supported the Cygnus operations for five years until the unberth of Cygnus OA-8 launched on November 12, 2017, thus marking the end of its support in completing the contract with NASA.
To commemorate the completion of this operational support, NASA and Orbital ATK Inc. visited Japan and held a closing ceremony with the JAXA HTV Operation Control Team.
Cygnus spacecraft operations support
The Cygnus spacecraft employs the same method of rendezvous and berthing with the ISS as that used by “KOUNOTORI”. This cutting-edge method was realized highly reliable by “KOUNOTORI” for the first time ever by using a robotic arm, currently established as a new standard of the ISS.
Once in proximity to the ISS, the Cygnus spacecraft first established communications link with the Proximity Communication System (PROX) developed by Japan for “KOUNOTORI”, and then communicated with the ISS via PROX. The Cygnus PROX operations were also supported by the HTV Operation Control Team.