A Cygnus spacecraft

A Cygnus spacecraft docked with the International Space Station. (Image credit: NASA)

The International Space Station was raised to its normal operating altitude of around 250 miles above Earth after a successful reboost.

This is the first time that a full reboost procedure has been performed by a Cygnus vehicle. Last week, a previous reboost attempt was aborted after just 5 seconds as a precautionary measure.

The space station's altitude was raised by a tenth of a mile at apogee and a half a mile at perigee by firing its engine. The reboost maneuvers are performed frequently to counteract the drag on the station caused by passing through the Earth's thin upper atmosphere.

The mission was launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. After being captured by the station's robotic arm, the craft docked with the International Space Station two days later.


There is a cargo ship arriving at the space station.

The Cygnus cargo spaceship is over 10 feet in diameter and over 16 feet long. The Cygnus can hold between 3000 and 6000 lbs. There have been 18 Cygnus craft launched in the last three years.

A Cygnus spacecraft

A Cygnus spacecraft displaying its large UltraFlex solar arrays. (Image credit: NASA)

Since its first launch nine years ago, the company has made improvements and added more capabilities, including the ability to re-boost the International Space Station. The press release states that the successful reboost adds a critical capability to help maintain and support the space station and demonstrates the enormous capability Cygnus has.

After it leaves the International Space Station on Tuesday, it will burn up in the atmosphere.

The International Space Station's days are numbered despite the recent success. The International Space Station will come to rest in a watery grave under the Pacific Ocean at some point after 2030. It's possible that Cygnus will be used to help get the station out of the air.

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