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Orbital Completes Third Cargo Delivery Mission to International Space Station for NASA
|By Business Wire
|August 18, 2014 12:23 PM EDT
Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world’s leading
space technology companies, today announced the successful completion of
its third cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station in
the past 10 months, including the initial demonstration flight completed
in October 2013 and the first two operational missions under the
company’s $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with
NASA. The company also noted that it is nearing the launch of its third
CRS mission of 2014, which is currently scheduled to take place in
The Cygnus™ spacecraft that carried out the cargo delivery mission for
the second CRS mission, known as “Orb-2,” unberthed from the ISS on
August 15, completing a 31-day stay at the orbiting laboratory.
Yesterday, Cygnus reentered Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean
east of New Zealand at approximately 9:15 a.m. (EDT) marking the
successful conclusion of the Orb-2 mission.
“Orbital’s third cargo delivery mission to the International Space
Station concluded with the controlled reentry of Cygnus over the
unpopulated expanses of the Pacific Ocean,” said Mr. Frank Culbertson,
Executive Vice President and General Manager of Orbital’s Advanced
Programs Group. “From start to finish, we are very pleased with the
results of this mission. Our team is proud to be providing essential
supplies to the ISS crew so they can carry out their vital work in
space. With three fully successful cargo delivery missions now complete,
it is clear our public-private partnership with NASA is proving to be a
positive asset to the productivity of the ISS. We are looking forward to
the next Antares launch and the Cygnus cargo delivery mission that is
coming up in about two months.”
The Orb-2 mission began on July 13 when Orbital’s Antares™
rocket launched Cygnus into orbit from the Mid-Atlantic Regional
Spaceport (MARS) located at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Eastern
Virginia. Cygnus, which carried 3,669 pounds (1,664 kilograms) of cargo
and science payloads, berthed with the ISS three days later on July 16.
Prior to its departure from the station, the astronauts loaded the cargo
module with approximately 3,550 pounds (1,615 kilograms) of items for
Under the CRS contract with NASA, Orbital is using Antares and Cygnus to
deliver up to 44,000 pounds (20,000 kilograms) of cargo to the ISS over
eight missions through late 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 scientific
Preparations are already well advanced for the next Cygnus cargo
delivery flight, the Orb-3 mission, scheduled to take place in October.
The Antares rocket is now undergoing final assembly and testing at
Wallops Island, while the Cygnus spacecraft is being prepared for
shipment from Orbital’s Dulles, VA production facilities to the Wallops
launch site in September. The Orb-3 flight is expected to deliver its
heaviest cargo manifest yet, with 5,050 pounds (2,290 kilograms) of
cargo and payloads to be sent to the ISS.
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 pounds (6,400
kilograms) into low-Earth orbit, as well as lighter-weight payloads into
higher-energy orbits. Orbital’s newest launcher has completed four
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,
Orbital originally developed the Cygnus cargo spacecraft as part of a
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, visit http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/Cygnus_fact.pdf.
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.
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