DULLES, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Orbital ATK (NYSE:OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced it is prepared to launch the company’s AntaresTM rocket carrying its CygnusTM cargo spacecraft. Pending completion of final vehicle testing and acceptable local weather conditions, the Antares launch of the mission, designated OA-5, will take place on October 16 with lift-off scheduled for 8:03 p.m. EDT.
The OA-5 mission will be Orbital ATK’s fifth operational cargo delivery mission for NASA and marks the return of flight operations to NASA Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia. The Antares medium-class rocket will boost Cygnus, carrying approximately 5,300 pounds (2,400 kilograms) of cargo to support the crew on the International Space Station. The spacecraft is slated to rendezvous and berth with the station on October 19, 2016.
Live coverage of the Antares launch and Cygnus berthing with the station will be available on NASA Television at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv. Details about the mission can be viewed at http://www.orbitalatk.com/news-room/feature-stories/OA5-Mission-Page.
Orbital ATK names each Cygnus spacecraft in honor of astronauts and individuals who contributed to the United States’ commercial space program. OA-5 is named after the late Alan Poindexter, who served as a NASA astronaut, space shuttle commander and naval aviator, and who participated in the construction of the International Space Station.
Cygnus will be launched into orbit using Orbital ATK’s upgraded Antares launch vehicle from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A on Wallops Island, Virginia, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. The Antares vehicle features all-new RD-181 engines, which provide increased performance to the Orbital ATK cargo delivery service.
After being launched into low-Earth orbit, the Cygnus spacecraft will use its advanced maneuvering capability to transport the cargo from a low parking orbit to the space station, where it will be grappled by the crew using the station’s robotic arm and berthed to the space station. After the cargo is removed and disposal items are loaded, Cygnus will depart from the station in mid-November.
Following departure, Cygnus will begin secondary OA-5 payload missions. Cygnus will carry the Saffire II payload experiment to study combustion behavior in microgravity onboard the spacecraft. NASA researchers will receive data from this experiment via telemetry. In addition, a NanoRacks deployer will release several cubesats used for weather forecasting. These secondary payload operations will be conducted after Cygnus is clear of the space station’s orbit.
Under the CRS-1 contract with NASA, Orbital ATK will deliver approximately 66,000 pounds (30,000 kilograms) of cargo to the International Space Station through 2018. Beginning in 2019, Orbital ATK will carry out a minimum of six initial cargo missions under NASA’s CRS-2 contract. The partnership is cultivating a robust American commercial space industry, freeing NASA to focus on developing the next-generation rocket and spacecraft that will enable humans to conduct deep space exploration missions.
B-roll and animation footage for the mission can be found here: http://www.orbitalatk.com/news-room/bmc/#
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About Orbital ATK
Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies. The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and merchant supplier. Its main products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition; satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced aerospace structures. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs approximately 12,000 people in 18 states across the U.S. and in several international locations. For more information, visit www.orbitalatk.com.