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Robotic arm links cargo craft to International Space Station

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The Cygnus space freighter is pictured moments after being captured by the Canadarm2 robotic arm operated by NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor. Photo courtesy of NASA TV

By Allen Cone, UPI

A robotic arm successfully docked the Cygnus cargo craft to the International Space Station on Monday, the second shipment of supplies in less than 24 hours.

At 7:31 a.m. Eastern, the craft was succesfully bolted into place by the Canadian-made robotic device, called Canadarm2, with the assistance of Expedition 57 astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA and Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, according to NASA. The third crew member is Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev.

For three months, the cargo ship will be attached to the space station before being deployed to perform several experiments. It then will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and disintegrate with several tons of trash.

Early Saturday, Northrop Grumman's Cygnus was launched aboard an Antares 230 rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore. It was Grumman's 10th cargo delivery flight.

Delivered were about 7,400 pounds of research and supplies, including fresh fruit and ice cream, and a 3D printer designed to recycle old plastic into new parts.

The Cygnus, dubbed the SS John Young after the late astronaut, is on the bottom of the station's Unity module.

At 2:28 p.m. Sunday, the Russian Progress 71 cargo ship docked to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module on the Russian segment of the space station.

The first module, Zarya, began orbiting Earth 20 years ago Tuesday without a crew. It wasn't until 2000 the first humans began living in the space station.

Unmanned crafts have been the only way to deliver supplies since a Soyuz launch was scrapped on Oct. 11 when a U.S. astronaut and Russian cosmonaut were forced to eject from their spacecraft.

The Russians plan to launch a Soyuz spacecraft on Dec. 3, boosting the lab's crew to six.

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Technology - U.S. Daily News: Robotic arm links cargo craft to International Space Station
Robotic arm links cargo craft to International Space Station
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Technology - U.S. Daily News
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