In July 2552, it was present at the Battle of Sigma Octanus IV. The Cradle was used as a shield for the Fleet when the Covenant attacked and it was sacrificed so that the rest of the UNSC Fleet could be protected from a salvo of plasma fire. No escape lifeboats were launched and the entire crew was killed. They were avenged moments later when the UNSC Fleet destroyed seven Covenant ships and damaged many others with their MAC volley fire. The remains of the station were pushed into high orbit above Sigma Octanus after the battle.
The tactic would be reused at the Fall of Reach with all three of that planet's repair stations and some human ships, in order to protect the planet's MAC guns from Covenant Plasma Torpedoes for a short time.
The UNSC Cradle was essentially a large square plate of Titanium-A armor, a kilometer to a side, capable of refitting six destroyers - three from her upper surface and three from her lower surface - in a matter of hours or days.
It was crewed by only 30 people (in addition to the EVA crews). Commander Richard Lash's father was a crewman engineer on the ship and was killed when it was destroyed. Repair crews used Arc welding to repair ships.
- The Covenant equivalent to the Cradle is believed to be the Unyielding Hierophant.
- The statement of the UNSC Cradles ability to repair/refit 6 destroyers simultaneously in a matter of hours to days is not to suggest her maximum number of docks for ships to dock is 6. (It is quite likely to be even more)
- Although the UNSC Cradle is stated to be only 1 km in length in the novels, it is the general consensus that the Cradle must be much larger in order for it to be remotely possible to protect an entire fleet of UNSC ships with its hull alone from Covenant plasma torpedoes. As such, a scale has been calculated based on a scale chart sketch to determine a length of 13.2 km. The aforementioned scale sketch is located in the Gallery of this page.