Space

January 10, 2014

Orbital successfully launches Antares rocket carrying Cygnus spacecraft

orbital-launch1
Orbital Sciences Corporation announced Jan. 9 it successfully launched its Antares™ medium-class rocket carrying the first of eight Cygnus™ cargo logistics spacecraft missions to the International Space Station as part of its $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.

The launch of Orbital’s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft will culminate in rendezvous and berthing with the ISS at approximately 6 a.m., EST, Jan. 12.

Cygnus will deliver approximately 2,780 pounds of cargo to the Expedition 38 astronauts and remain attached to the station until February 18 before departing with approximately 2,800 pounds of disposable cargo for a safe, destructive reentry over the Pacific Ocean.

Lift-off of Orbital’s Antares rocket occurred today at 1:07 p.m., EST, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia. Following a 10-minute ascent, the Cygnus spacecraft was successfully deployed by the Antares upper stage and placed into its intended orbit of about 135 x 175 miles above the Earth, inclined at 51.6 degrees to the equator.  Approximately 25 minutes later, Orbital’s engineering team confirmed that reliable communications had been established and that the solar arrays were fully deployed, providing the necessary electrical power to command the spacecraft.

“It was another excellent launch of Antares, and so far, our first CRS mission is off to a great start with Cygnus operating exactly as anticipated at this early stage of the mission,” said David W. Thompson, Orbital’s president and chief executive officer. “Our team has put in a lot of hard work to get to the point of performing regular ISS cargo delivery trips for NASA.  It’s an exciting day for all of us and I’m looking forward to completing this and our future CRS missions safely and successfully for our NASA customer.”

Under a $1.9 billion CRS contract with NASA, Orbital will use Antares and Cygnus to deliver up to 44,000 pounds 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 experiments.

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 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.

Click here to watch on YouTube




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


 
 

 
nasa-commercial-crew

Commercial Crew milestones met; partners on track for 2017 missions

NASA has taken another step toward returning America’s ability to launch crew missions to the International Space Station from the United States in 2017. The Commercial Crew Program ordered its first crew rotation mission fro...
 
 
boeing-space

Boeing awarded first-ever commercial human spaceflight mission

NASA issued a task order as part of Boeing’s $4.2 billion Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract recently to include the company’s first-ever service flight to the International Space Station. The award ...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Europa mission begins with selection of science instruments

Photograph courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech Bizarre features on Europa’s icy surface suggest a warm interior. This view of the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa was obtained by NASA’s Galileo mission, and shows a color...
 

 
Photograph courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin

NASA begins testing Mars lander in preparation for next mission to Red Planet

Photograph courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin Engineers and technicians at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, run a test of deploying the solar arrays on NASA’s InSight lander. Photo taken April 30, 2015. Te...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s WISE spacecraft discovers most luminous galaxy in universe

Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech This artist’s concept depicts the current record holder for the most luminous galaxy in the universe. The galaxy, WISE J224607.57-052635.0, is erupting with light equal to more than 300 ...
 
 

Air Force launches hush-hush mini-shuttle into space

A mysterious space plane rocketed into orbit May 20, carrying no crew but a full load of technology experiments. The Air Force launched its unmanned mini-shuttle late morning, May 20. An Atlas V rocket lifted it up and out over the Atlantic. This is the fourth flight for the military research program, which is shrouded...
 




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>