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Orbital Successfully Launches Antares Rocket Carrying Cygnus Spacecraft on Cargo Resupply Mission to International Space Station
|By Business Wire
|July 13, 2014 03:52 PM EDT
Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE:ORB), one of the world’s leading
space technology companies, today announced it successfully launched its
Antares™ medium-class rocket carrying a Cygnus™ cargo logistics
spacecraft, beginning the company’s second operational cargo resupply
mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Cygnus will deliver
vital equipment, supplies and scientific experiments to the ISS as part
of its $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with
NASA. More information about the CRS mission is available at http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/MissionUpdates/Orb-2/.
Orbital's Antares rocket lifts off from the launch pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on July 13, launching essential cargo to the International Space Station. (Photo: Business Wire)
Lift-off of the Antares rocket occurred today at 12:52 p.m. (EDT) from
the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A located NASA’s Wallops
Flight Facility in eastern Virginia. Following a 10-minute ascent, the
Cygnus spacecraft was successfully deployed and placed into its intended
orbit of 120 x 180 miles (190 x 290 kilometers) above the Earth,
inclined at 51.6 degrees to the equator. Orbital’s engineering team has
confirmed that reliable communications had been established and that the
solar arrays are fully deployed, providing the necessary electrical
power to command the spacecraft.
The launch of Orbital’s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo logistics
spacecraft will culminate in rendezvous and berthing with the ISS on
July 16 at approximately 6:39 a.m. (EDT). Cygnus will deliver 3,669
pounds (1,664 kilograms) of cargo to the Expedition 40 astronauts and
remain attached to the station approximately 30 days before departing
with approximately 2,950 pounds (1,340 kilograms) of disposable cargo
for a safe, destructive reentry over the Pacific Ocean approximately
five days later.
“Today’s mission was the fourth successful launch of Antares in the past
15 months and the third deployment of Cygnus in less than a year,” said
Mr. David W. Thompson, Orbital’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
“So far, our second operational CRS mission is off to a great start with
Cygnus operating exactly as anticipated at this early stage of the
mission. We are very pleased to be a reliable partner with NASA to meet
their need for reliable, regularly scheduled cargo resupply for the ISS.
I salute the combined NASA and Orbital team for its hard work to get us
to this point, and look forward to completing another safe and
successful mission for our NASA customer.”
Under the CRS contract with NASA, Orbital will use Antares and Cygnus to
deliver approximately 44,000 pounds (20,000 kilograms) of cargo to the
ISS over eight missions through 2016. For these missions, NASA will
manifest a variety of essential items based on ISS program needs,
including food, clothing, crew supplies, spare parts and equipment, and
Orbital privately developed the Antares launch vehicle to provide
low-cost, reliable access to space for medium-class payloads. It is the
largest and most complex rocket the company has ever produced. Under the
Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) joint research and
development initiative with NASA, Orbital also developed the Cygnus
spacecraft, which is an advanced maneuvering vehicle that meets the
stringent human-rated safety requirements for ISS operations. Together,
these products showcase Orbital’s ability to apply rigorous engineering
approaches and commercial business practices to significantly shorten
development timelines and lower operational costs of sophisticated space
systems as compared to traditional government-run programs.
The Antares medium-class launch vehicle represents a major increase in
the payload launch capability that Orbital can provide to NASA, the U.S.
Air Force and commercial customers compared to its heritage small-class
space launch vehicles such as Pegasus, Taurus and Minotaur. The Antares
rocket can launch spacecraft weighing up to 14,000 lbs. (6,400 kg.) into
low-Earth orbit, as well as lighter-weight payloads into higher-energy
orbits. Orbital’s newest launcher has completed three successful
missions and is currently on-ramped to both the NASA Launch Services-2
and the U.S. Air Force’s Orbital/Suborbital Program-3 contracts,
enabling the two largest U.S. government space launch customers to order
Antares for “right-size and right-price” launch services for
medium-class spacecraft. For more information on Antares, visit http://www.orbital.com/LaunchSystems/SpaceLaunchVehicles/Antares/.
Orbital developed the Cygnus cargo spacecraft as part of its COTS joint
research and development initiative with NASA. Cygnus consists of a
common Service Module (SM) and a Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM). The SM
incorporates avionics, power and propulsion systems already successfully
flown aboard dozens of Orbital’s LEOStar™ and GEOStar™ satellite
products. The PCM, designed and built by Thales Alenia Space under a
subcontract from Orbital, is based on the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
(MPLM) used with the Space Shuttle. For more information on Cygnus,
Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and
space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers.
The company’s primary products are satellites and launch vehicles,
including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary
exploration spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific
and defense missions; human-rated space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar
and other missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver
satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as
interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also provides satellite
subsystems and space-related technical services to U.S. Government
agencies and laboratories. More information about Orbital can be found
Follow the company on Twitter @OrbitalSciences.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20140713005032/en/
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