Cygnus NG-13, previously known as CRS OA-13, is the fourteenth and currently flight of the Northrop Grumman robotic resupply spacecraft Cygnus and its thirteenth flight to the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.[2]·[3] The mission launched on 15 February 2020 at 3:21 PM EST (20:21 UTC).[4] This is the second launch of Cygnus under the CRS-2 contract.[5]

Cygnus NG-13
Cygnus NG-13 arrives.jpg
S.S. Robert H Lawrence arrives at the ISS
Mission typeISS resupply
Mission duration5 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes
(in progress)
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftS.S. Robert H. Lawrence
Spacecraft typeEnhanced Cygnus
ManufacturerNorthrop Grumman
Thales Alenia Space
Start of mission
Launch date15 February 2020, 20:21:01 UTC
RocketAntares 230+
Launch siteMARS, LP-0A
ContractorNorthrop Grumman
End of mission
Disposal25 May 2020 (planned)[1]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Berthing at ISS
Berthing portUnity nadir[1]
RMS capture18 February 2020, 09:05 UTC[1]
Berthing date18 February 2020, 11:16 UTC[1]
Unberthing date11 May 2020 (planned)[1]
RMS release11 May 2020 (planned)
Time berthed2 days, 21 hours, 49 minutes
(in progress)
Mass3,377 kg (7,445 lb)
Pressurised3,377 kg (7,445 lb)
Cygnus NG-13 Patch.png  

Orbital ATK and NASA jointly developed a new space transportation system to provide commercial cargo resupply services to the International Space Station (ISS). Under the Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) program, then Orbital Sciences designed and built Antares, a medium-class launch vehicle; Cygnus, an advanced maneuvering spacecraft, and a Pressurized Cargo Module which is provided by Orbital's industrial partner Thales Alenia Space.[6] The rocket was jointly developed by U.S. and Ukrainian specialists.[7] Northrop Grumman purchased Orbital in June 2018; its ATK division was renamed Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.[8]


Cygnus NG-13 is the second Cygnus mission under the Commercial Resupply Services-2.

Production and integration of Cygnus spacecraft are performed in Dulles, Virginia. The Cygnus service module is mated with the pressurized cargo module at the launch site, and mission operations are conducted from control centers in Dulles and Houston.[6]

The original launch attempt on 9 February 2020 was scheduled to launch at 17:39:30 EST before being pushed to the end of its five-minute window at 17:44:29 EST, only to end up being scrubbed due to a technical issue with a regulator at the launch pad with three minutes left in the countdown.[9]

The second launch attempt on 14 February 2020 at 20:43:34 UTC was scrubbed due to strong upper winds with less than ninety minutes left in the countdown.

Cygnus NG-13 launched successfully on 15 February 2020 at 20:21:01 UTC.

Launch and early operationsEdit

Northrop Grumman Antares CRS-13 Launch

After Northrop Grumman purchased Orbital ATK in June 2018, the mission was changed from OA-13 to NG-13. The Antares rocket was built and processed in the Horizontal Integration Facility over the course of six months. The rocket was rolled out to MARS Pad 0A where it was originally planned to launch 9 February 2020 but was scrubbed and delayed due to inclement weather and an issue with a regulator at the launch pad. The mission launched successfully on the 15 February 2020 at 3:21 PM EST with no delay and no apparent problems. The Cygnus spacecraft arrived at the space station on 18 February 2020 at 09:05 UTC. Expedition 62 astronaut Andrew Morgan grappled the spacecraft using the station's robotic arm. After Cygnus capture, ground controllers commanded the station's arm to rotate and installed Cygnus on the Earth-facing port of the station's Unity module at 11:16 UTC. The Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to remain at the space station until 11 May 2020. The Saffire-IV experiment will be conducted within Cygnus after it departs the station, and prior to deorbit, when it also will dispose of several tons of trash during a fiery reentry into Earth's atmosphere 25 May 2020.[1]

Attempt Planned

(times are in UTC)

Result Turnaround Reason Decision Point Weather go (%) Notes
1 9 Feb 2020


Scrubbed 95 hrs Ground 9 Feb 2020


100% Scrubbed due to off-nominal data from ground support with less than three minutes in the count down.
2 13 Feb 2020


Delayed 24 hrs Weather 11 Feb 2020


45% Continuing concerns of bad weather.
3 14 Feb 2020


Scrubbed 24 hrs Weather 14 Feb 2020


90% Concerns of higher upper-level winds.
4 15 Feb 2020


Successful 85% Launched successfully on time.


This is the eighth flight of the Enhanced-sized Cygnus PCM.[10]

This Cygnus spacecraft is named to honor Robert H. Lawrence.[11]


The Cygnus spacecraft is loaded with 3,377 kg (7,445 lb):[12]

  • Vehicle hardware: 1,588 kg (3,501 lb)
  • Science investigations: 966 kg (2,129 lb)
  • Crew supplies: 710 kg (1,570 lb)
  • Spacewalk equipment: 81 kg (179 lb)
  • Computer resources: 30 kg (66 lb)
  • Total Cargo: 3,377 kg (7,445 lb)
  • Total Pressurized Cargo with Packaging: 3,377 kg (7,445 lb)


NASA provided the following breakdown of the cargo’s hardware for ISS:[13]

  • Columbus Ka-band Terminal (COLKa) Assembly: module enhancement hardware to upgrade the communications capability in Columbus science module
  • Major Constituents Analyzer (MCA) Mass Spectrometer: critical spare to support laboratories and connecting module operations of the MCAs to detect atmospheric constituents onboard the space station
  • External High Definition Camera (EHDC) Assembly: major camera assembly spare that will replace a failed camera on-orbit during a spring 2020 EVA
  • Water Stowage System (WSS) Resupply Tanks (RST): nine water tanks to support crew and hardware requirements during the 2020 timeframe
  • Nitrogen/Oxygen Recharge System (NORS) Tanks: two recharge tanks to replenish on-orbit oxygen to be utilized in upcoming spacewalks, and one air tank to support the Commercial Crew Vehicle (CCV) Emergency Breathing Air Assembly (CEBAA) hardware launching in 2020
  • POLAR Flight Assembly: cold stowage capability to support payload transportation to the ISS


The new experiments arriving at the orbiting laboratory will challenge and inspire future scientists and explorers, and provide valuable insight for researchers. Experiments will test new facilities for microscopic viewing and cell culturing, and particle identification, will seek to better understand how fire spreads in microgravity, and will study how bacteriophages behave in space. The Saffire-IV experiment will occur after Cygnus leaves the ISS.[13]

  • Mobile SpaceLab, a tissue and cell culturing facility that offers investigators a quick-turnaround platform to perform sophisticated microgravity biology experiments. This will be mounted in a designated EXPRESS rack on ISS [14]
  • Mochii, initial demonstration of a new miniature scanning electron microscope (SEM) with spectroscopy
  • Spacecraft Fire Experiment-IV (Saffire-IV), fourth in a series of experiements on fire and combustibles [14]
  • OsteoOmics examines osteoblast cells at a molecular level to better understand bone loss [14]
  • Phage Evolution studies the effects of microgravity and radiation exposure on bacteriophages and their hosts


Cubesats planned for release: Red-Eye 2, DeMI, TechEdSat 10.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d e f ISS Expedition 62
  2. ^ "Worldwide launch schedule". Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  3. ^ "International Space Station Flight Schedule". Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. 15 May 2013.
  4. ^ Clark, Stephen (15 February 2020). "Antares rocket lifts off from Virginia on space station cargo mission". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  5. ^ Gebhardt, Chris (1 June 2018). "Orbital ATK looks ahead to CRS-2 Cygnus flights, Antares on the commercial market". Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Cygnus Fact Sheet" (PDF). Orbital ATK. 24 March 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  7. ^ "U.S.-Ukraine Produced Rocket Lifts Off, Takes Supplies To International Space Station". 17 February 2020. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  8. ^ Erwin, Sandra (5 June 2018). "Acquisition of Orbital ATK approved, company renamed Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems". SpaceNews. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  9. ^ Clark, Stephen (10 February 2020). "Antares launch scrubbed due to faulty ground support equipment".
  10. ^ Leone, Dan (17 August 2015). "NASA Orders Two More ISS Cargo Missions From Orbital ATK". Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  11. ^ Pearlman, Robert Z. "Northrop Grumman names Cygnus spacecraft for first African American astronaut". Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  12. ^ - 15 February 2020.
  13. ^ a b "Overview CRS-13(NG-13) Mission" (PDF). Northrop Grumman and NASA. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  14. ^ a b c Gaskill, Melissa (29 January 2020). "New Research Launching to Station Aboard Northrop Grumman's 13th Resupply Mission". NASA.
  15. ^ "Cygnus-PCM (enhanced)". Gunter’s Space Page. Retrieved 12 February 2020.

External linksEdit