Space

September 16, 2013

Orbital rolls out Antares rocket to Wallops launch pad for COTS demo mission to ISS

orbital-antares2
 

Sept. 13, Orbital Sciences Corporation rolled out its Antares™ rocket that will launch the company’s first Cygnus™ spacecraft to the International Space Station for its demonstration mission under the Commercial Orbital Transportations Services joint development program with NASA.

Orbital is currently targeting Sept. 18 for the launch during a 15-minute window from 10:16 to 11:05 a.m., EDT. During the mission, the Antares rocket will boost the Cygnus spacecraft into a parking orbit of approximately 245 x 300 kilometers in altitude, inclined at 51.6 degrees to the equator.

Live coverage of the COTS demonstration mission will be available on NASA Television and at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv.

Roll-out operations began at about 2:30 a.m., with the Antares rocket first emerging from its Horizontal Integration Facility at about 3:45 a.m. this morning.  The rocket was transported about one mile to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport launch complex, known as Pad 0A, aboard the Transporter/Erector/Launcher, a specialized vehicle that also raised the rocket to a vertical position on the launch pad and serves as a support interface between the rocket and the launch complex’s systems.  By about 1:00 p.m., Antares was in a fully vertical position on the launch pad.

Following its launch by the Antares rocket, Cygnus will conduct an extensive series of in-orbit maneuvers and demonstrations over a five-day period to verify that all onboard operating systems are functioning properly and that ground controllers at Orbital’s Mission Control Center, located at the company’s Dulles, VA campus, are able to command, control and communicate with the spacecraft as designed and extensively rehearsed.  Assuming a September 17 launch, Orbital and NASA are currently targeting the morning of Sunday, September 22, for the Cygnus rendezvous, grapple and berthing operations with the ISS at an altitude of about 415 kilometers above the Earth.  On its demonstration mission, Cygnus will deliver approximately 700 kilograms of cargo, including food and clothing, to the Expedition 37 crew, which will also load Cygnus with disposal cargo prior to its departure from the station approximately 30 days later.

orbital-antares3

“Today’s roll-out of the fully integrated Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft, along with this weekend’s on-pad testing and readiness review, are the final steps leading up to next week’s launch of our COTS demonstration mission,” said David W. Thompson, Orbital’s chairman and CEO. “This mission will mark the completion of a five-year journey that NASA and our company embarked on in 2008 to create a new medium-class rocket, a sophisticated logistics spacecraft and a world-class launch site at the Wallops Flight Facility.”

Following a successful COTS demonstration mission, Orbital plans to begin regularly scheduled cargo supply missions under its Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA later this year.  Orbital is currently scheduled to launch the first of eight CRS missions to the ISS as early as December.  All CRS flights will originate from NASA’s Wallops base, which is geographically well suited for ISS missions and can also accommodate launches of scientific, defense and commercial satellites to other orbits.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Navy photograph

NAWCWD manned for unmanned systems

Navy photograph A rail launch is performed during Integrator unmanned aerial vehicle testing at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division China Lake, Calif. Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division scientists, engineers, techn...
 
 
NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich

NASA employees go ‘above and beyond’

Courtesy photograph NASA Chief Scientist Albion Bowers, Christopher Miller and Nelson Brown receive the Exception Engineering Achievement Medal at Armstrong Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The prestigious award ...
 
 
Photograph by Tom Reynolds

Engineers, test pilots enjoy Mojave tradition

Photograph by Tom Reynolds Engineer and pilot students who recently graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School from Patuxent River, Md., and the USAF Test Pilot school at Edwards AFB kept with a 17 year old tradition, enjo...
 

 
nasa-global-hawk

Global Hawk 872 return marks 100th NASA flight

  NASA Global Hawk No. 872 is pictured on the ramp after landing at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Va., at sunrise following its 10th and final science flight Sept. 28–29 in the agency’s 2014 Hurricane and S...
 
 

Northrop Grumman hand held precision targeting device completes successful developmental test

A new hand held targeting system developed by Northrop Grumman that will enable soldiers to engage targets with precision munitions while providing digital connectivity to related military units has successfully completed developmental testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The evaluation of the company’s Hand Held Precision Targeting Device, or HHPTD, was conducted...
 
 
Photograph by Linda KC Reynolds

Educating future workers

Photograph by Linda KC Reynolds Antelope Valley College physics professor Christos Valiotis and assistant headmaster at the Palmdale Aerospace Academy, Matthew Winheim, speak at the Antelope Valley Board of Trade Luncheon. The ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>