The ISS is a busy place! They’ve had two arrivals in the past few days. First off, Soyuz MS-02 arrived following a two-day chase. It docked to the Poisk module located at the zenith port of Zvezda’s forward compartment. This lovely time-lapse has the perfect musical score to go along:
And now, the Cygnus OA-5 mission, with the spacecraft “SS Alan Poindexter”, has arrived at the ISS. Crews on board captured the spacecraft with the SSRMS; ground controllers later took over and completed the berthing remotely while the crew slept, mating the spacecraft to the nadir port of the Unity node of the ISS.
Orbital ATK names each of their cargo vehicles, and the tradition they’ve chosen is to name each for a deceased astronaut. Alan Poindexter, this spacecraft’s namesake, joined the astronaut corps in 1998, later flying on two missions, STS-122 and STS-131. The latter was the longest mission for the Space Shuttle Discovery, at 15 days 2 hours, 47 min, 11 seconds. Poindexter retired from NASA in 2010, one of many realizing they would never get another chance to fly into space. He tragically passed away at the age of 50 in 2012 in a personal watercraft accident. But thanks to Orbital ATK, his name at least can fly in space one more time.