Coming two weeks before the NG-12 Cygnus is scheduled to depart the International Space Station on 31 January 2020, NASA’s Johnson Space Center officially requested, and the Federal Communications Commission approved, a post-Station mission extension for the craft.
For this mission, Cygnus had a pre-flight approval to perform two weeks of solo flight operations after leaving the Station before destructively re-entering. That solo flight operation has now been extended to 31 days in large part due to the planned 9 February launch of the NG-13 Cygnus from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia.
The NG-12 Cygnus was originally scheduled to depart the International Space Station on 13 January, which would have allowed it to perform its two week post-Station mission and re-enter by the end of the month or early February.
That would have placed the end of its mission roughly one week before the launch of the next Cygnus on the NG-13 mission to the International Space Station, which is slated to launch on 9 February 2020.
However, in October, the final two planned battery removal and replacement spacewalks on the Station had to be delayed when an issue with a Battery Charge-Discharge Unit occurred.