Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world's leading
space technology companies, today announced the successful completion of
the first of eight CygnusTM operational cargo logistics
spacecraft missions to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of
the company's $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract
with NASA. The Cygnus spacecraft unberthed from the ISS yesterday
morning at 6:41 a.m. (EST), completing a 37-day stay at the orbiting
laboratory. Today, Cygnus reentered Earth's atmosphere over the Pacific
Ocean east of New Zealand at approximately 1:20 p.m. (EST).
"We are very proud to have a second flawless cargo mission to the space
station brought to a successful conclusion this afternoon," said Mr.
David W. Thompson, Orbital's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
"Following Cygnus' successful demonstration mission in late 2013
conducted under our COTS research and development partnership with NASA,
the picture-perfect execution of the first operational mission is a
great way to start the CRS contract. We are looking forward to the next
Antares launch and Cygnus cargo delivery mission currently scheduled for
The CRS-1 mission began on January 9, 2014 when Orbital's AntaresTM
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 2,780 lbs. (1,260 kg.) of cargo and
science payloads, rendezvoused and berthed with the ISS three days later
on January 12. Prior to its departure from the station, the astronauts
loaded the cargo module with approximately 3,250 lbs. (1,477 kg.) of
unneeded items for disposal.
Under the CRS contract with NASA, Orbital is using Antares and Cygnus to
deliver up to 44,000 lbs. (20,000 kg.) of cargo to the ISS over eight
missions, including the CRS-1 flight just completed, 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.
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/SpaceLaunch/Antares/.
Orbital developed the Cygnus cargo spacecraft as part of its Commercial
Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) joint research and development
initiative with NASA. Cygnus consists of a common Service Module (SM)
designed and built by Orbital at its Dulles, VA manufacturing
facilities, and a Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM), built by Thales Alenia
Space under a subcontract from Orbital. The SM incorporates avionics,
power and propulsion systems already successfully flown aboard dozens of
Orbital's LEOStar™ and GEOStar™ satellite products. The PCM 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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