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Orbital ATK Completes Eighth Cargo Mission to the ISS

By | November 13, 2017

      Orbital ATK successfully launched an Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus spacecraft on Nov. 12 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia. The launch is Orbital ATK’s eighth cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station (ISS). During the mission, designated OA-8, Cygnus will deliver vital equipment, supplies and experiments to the astronauts aboard the space station, as well as conduct scientific experiments onboard Cygnus while docked with the orbiting laboratory.

      The Antares rocket launched the Cygnus spacecraft loaded with approximately 7,400 lbs. of cargo for the ISS’ crew of six. Following an approximate nine-minute ascent, Orbital ATK deployed the Cygnus spacecraft into orbit. Orbital ATK’s engineering team confirmed reliable communications have been established and the vehicle’s solar arrays are fully deployed, providing the necessary electrical power to operate the spacecraft.

      Cygnus will be grappled at approximately 4:50 a.m. EST on Nov. 14. The spacecraft will remain attached to the ISS for approximately three weeks before departing with more than 4,000 pounds of disposable cargo.

      Upon arrival at the ISS, the Cygnus will be unloaded and used for the first time as an extension of the orbiting laboratory for an experiment featuring a SpaceTango facility. TangoLab is a reconfigurable general research facility designed for microgravity research and development. This exercise will highlight the ability to expand the station’s capabilities for hosting experiments using the Cygnus module. During the three weeks Cygnus remains docked, the astronauts on the space station will perform the transfer of the lab to Cygnus and then back to the station where it will remain. Once Cygnus is unberthed, a NanoRacks deployer will release 14 Cubesats, a record number for the spacecraft. Upon completion of its secondary missions, Cygnus will perform a safe, destructive reentry into Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.

      Under the CRS 1 contract with NASA, Orbital ATK will deliver a total of approximately 66,000 pounds of cargo to the ISS. Beginning in 2019, the company will carry out a minimum of six cargo missions under NASA’s CRS-2 contract.