Successful Launch Readiness Review for Antares, CRS-3

Antares rocket
The Antares rocket at sunrise on Oct. 26, 2014, a day before its scheduled launch. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

At a Launch Readiness Review Sunday, Oct. 26, managers for Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Virginia, and NASA gave a “go” to proceed toward the Monday, Oct. 27, launch of the Orbital CRS-3 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Orbital is targeting a 6:45 p.m. EDT launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 5:45 p.m.

There is a 98 percent chance of favorable weather at the time of launch.

NASA TV will broadcast two news briefings today from the Wallops Visitors Center. A prelaunch status briefing will be held at 1 p.m. followed by a preview of the mission’s science cargo at 2 p.m. The briefings will be carried live on NASA TV.

NASA will take questions from social media users in advance of and during the briefing using the hashtag #AskNASA. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

› How to View the CRS-3 Launch
› More launch information and TV coverage details
› NASA’s Orbital website
› Related images on Flickr

Preview of Day-Before-Launch Activities

The launch of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s CRS-3 Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station is on schedule for launch aboard an Antares rocket no earlier than 6:45 p.m. EDT on Monday, Oct. 27, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

The latest weather forecast remains at 98-percent favorable.

Antares at launch pad
This photo shows the Antares rocket on the morning of Oct. 25 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s launch Pad-0A at Wallops. Credit: NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility/Joshua Murray

A number of activities are planned for Sunday, Oct. 26, leading up to launch day:

  • Launch Readiness Review, 10 a.m. to noon EDT
  • Pre-launch Briefing, 1 p.m. EDT (will air on NASA TV)
  • Science Briefing, 2 p.m. EDT (will air on NASA TV)

› How to View the CRS-3 Launch
› More launch information and TV coverage details
› NASA’s Orbital website
› Related images on Flickr

Antares Erected at Pad; Mon. Forecast at 98% ‘Go’

Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft aboard, was raised into vertical position at launch Pad-0A, early on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The launch of Orbital’s CRS-3 Commercial Resupply Services mission is scheduled for no earlier than 6:45 p.m. EDT on Monday, Oct. 27, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops. The latest forecast puts weather at 98-percent “go,” with the main concern being an extremely low chance of thick clouds.

Antares rocket rolls to pad
The Antares rocket’s journey to the launch pad began on the evening of Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, shortly before 5 p.m. Credit: NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility/Chris Perry
Antares rocket rolls to pad
The journey from Wallops’ Horizontal Integration Facility to the launch pad is about a mile. Credit: NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility/Chris Perry
Antares raised into vertical position
The Antares rocket was raised to vertical position early on Saturday, Oct. 25. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Antares raised to vertical position
Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Antares in vertical position
Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Antares at launch pad
This photo shows the Antares rocket on the morning of Oct. 25 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s launch Pad-0A at Wallops. Credit: NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility/Joshua Murray

The Antares will launch with the Cygnus spacecraft filled with more than 5,000 pounds of supplies for the International Space Station, including science experiments, experiment hardware, spare parts, and crew provisions. The Orbital-3 mission is Orbital Sciences’ third contracted cargo delivery flight to the space station for NASA.

This mission is the third of eight Orbital flights NASA contracted with the company to resupply the space station, and the fourth trip by a Cygnus spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory.

› Related images on Flickr
› How to View the CRS-3 Launch
› More information and TV coverage details
› NASA’s Orbital website

Antares Rocket Rolls Out

At roughly 4:45 p.m. Friday evening, the Antares rocket loaded with Orbital Science Corp.’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft began its journey from the Horizontal Integration Facility at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to its launch pad, about a mile away.

Antares rocket rolls out to launch pad
The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft on board, rolls from the Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) to launch Pad-0A, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Antares rocket rolls out to launch pad
The Antares will launch with the Cygnus spacecraft filled with more than 5,000 pounds of supplies for the International Space Station, including science experiments, experiment hardware, spare parts, and crew provisions. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Antares rocket rolls out to launch pad
The Orbital-3 mission is Orbital Sciences’ third contracted cargo delivery flight to the space station for NASA. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

› More roll-out images on Flickr

The launch of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s CRS-3 Commercial Resupply Services mission is scheduled for no earlier than 6:45 p.m. EDT on Monday, Oct. 27, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops.

This mission is the third of eight Orbital flights NASA contracted with the company to resupply the space station, and the fourth trip by a Cygnus spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory.

› How to View the CRS-3 Launch
› More information and TV coverage details
› NASA’s Orbital website

How to View the CRS-3 Launch

NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport are set to support the launch of Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket at 6:45 p.m. EDT, Oct. 27.

The Antares rocket will carry Orbital’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft, loaded with some 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments, to the International Space Station. CRS-3 (short for “Commercial Resupply Services”) will be the fourth Cygnus flight, including a demonstration flight in 2013, and the first night launch of an Antares rocket.

Public viewing of the launch will be available at the NASA Visitor Center at Wallops, as well as at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Assateague Island National Seashore. (Wallops visitors are reminded that alcohol and pets are not allowed on Visitor Center grounds.) The Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission has additional recommendations for local viewing sites.

The launch may be visible, weather permitting, to residents throughout the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States.

Orb-3 Launch Visibility Map
The Antares launch scheduled Oct. 27 will be visible to residents in the mid-Atlantic, weather permitting. Credit: NASA/Wallops Mission Planning Lab
trajectory over view of harbor
What the Antares launch will look like from Fells Point in Baltimore, MD. Credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.
view of trajectory over tidal basin
Viewing the launch across the tidal basin from the MLK Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. Credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.
trajectory over the upper west side.
Viewing from River Road in North Bergen, New Jersey, looking south. Credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.

Additional viewing maps from Orbital Sciences Corp. are available here.

Launch coverage on NASA TV will begin at 5:45 p.m. EDT on Monday, Oct. 27.

› More information and TV coverage details
› NASA’s Orbital website

CRS-3 Fairing Installed

The Orbital CRS-3 mission’s payload fairing (essentially the casing around the spacecraft) was installed on Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket the evening of Oct. 23 at the Horizontal Integration Facility at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

CRS-3 Fairing Installed
Credit: NASA Wallops/Patrick Black
CRS-3 Fairing Installed
Credit: NASA Wallops/Patrick Black
CRS-3 Fairing Installed
Credit: NASA Wallops/Patrick Black

The rocket is scheduled to roll out to Mid-Atlantic Regaional Spaceport Pad 0A at Wallops late in the afternoon on Oct. 24 in preparation for launch Monday, Oct. 27, at 6:45 p.m. EDT.

This mission is the third of eight Orbital flights NASA contracted with the company to resupply the space station, and the fourth trip by a Cygnus spacecraft to the ISS. Cygnus will transport some 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments to the orbiting laboratory.

› More information and TV coverage details
› NASA’s Orbital website

Orbital CRS-3 Launch Scheduled for Oct. 27 Liftoff

On Monday evening a Cygnus spacecraft carrying 5,000 pounds of supplies, including science experiments, crew provisions, spare parts and experiment hardware is scheduled to launch aboard an Antares rocket from Virginia’s Eastern Shore, bound for the International Space Station.

The launch of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s CRS-3 Commercial Resupply Services mission is scheduled for no earlier than 6:45 p.m. EDT aboard an Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

Cygnus spacecraft
Orbital Sciences Corp. completed final cargo load of the Cygnus cargo spacecraft Oct. 23, 2014. Credit: NASA Wallops/Patrick Black
› Larger image

The Antares rocket with Cyngus capsule aboard will be rolled out from Wallops’ Horizontal Integration Facility today en route to the MARS launch pad 0A, located about a mile away.

This Cygnus resupply module, dubbed “SS Deke Slayton,” honors Mercury 7 astronaut Donald “Deke” K. Slayton, who flew on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission in 1975 and championed commercial space endeavors after retiring from NASA in 1982. Slayton passed away in 1993.

Orb-3 Launch Visibility Map
The Antares launch scheduled Oct. 27 will be visible to residents in the mid-Atlantic, weather permitting. Credit: NASA/Wallops Mission Planning Lab
› Larger image

NASA Television will broadcast live coverage of the event, including pre- and post-launch briefings and arrival at the station. Launch coverage begins at 5:45 p.m. Monday. Coverage of capture and installation will begin at 3:30 a.m. Nov. 2, followed by grapple at 4:58 a.m. Coverage of the installation of Cygnus onto the International Space Station will begin at 7 a.m. The capsule is scheduled to depart the station Wednesday, Dec. 3, and burn up in Earth’s atmosphere during reentry.

This mission is the third of eight Orbital flights NASA contracted with the company to resupply the space station, and the fourth trip by a Cygnus spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory.

› More information and TV coverage details
› NASA’s Orbital website

Cygnus Deploys Solar Arrays; Blog Coverage Concludes

Launch of the Orb-2 mission of a Cygnus cargo spacecraft aboard an Antares rocket on July 13, 2014, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Launch of the Orb-2 mission of a Cygnus cargo spacecraft aboard an Antares rocket on July 13, 2014, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The solar arrays that will keep Cygnus’ batteries charged have deployed successfully. Now that Cygnus has reached its initial orbit and is on its way to the International Space Station, launch blog coverage has concluded.

The cargo ship will rendezvous with the International Space Station on Wednesday, July 16. It will be grappled at about 6:39 a.m. by Commander Steve Swanson of NASA. He will be assisted in a backup position by Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency. Cygnus will be attached to the Earth-facing port of the station’s Harmony node and will remain in place for about one month. It is scheduled depart the space station on August 15.

Visit NASA’s website for continuing coverage and more information about the Orb-2 mission and the International Space Station.

› NASA Cargo Launches to Space Station aboard Orbital Sciences Resupply Mission
› Launch video on YouTube
› NASA’s Orbital website
› NASA’s International Space Station website
› Mission preparation and launch photographs on Flickr: 1 | 2 | 3
› Latest Student Science Heads For Space
› Orbital Mission Delivers Delights to Station
› NASA Launches Smartphone Upgrade and CubeSat

Second Stage Burn, Spacecraft Separation Complete

Cygnus’ second stage has lifted the spacecraft into its initial orbit. Cygnus has separated from the second stage. Cygnus is about 125 miles high, traveling at more than 16,700 mph.

Cygnus will then deploy its solar arrays and begin a carefully choreographed series of engine firings to reach the station.

Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Cygnus spacecraft with cargo for the International Space Station launched as scheduled at 12:52 p.m. EDT aboard an Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Rendezvous of Cygnus with the space station is scheduled for the morning of July 16.

› NASA’s Orbital website
› Launch viewing maps from Orbital Sciences Corp.
› Latest Student Science Heads For Space
› Orbital Mission Delivers Delights to Station
› NASA Launches Smartphone Upgrade and CubeSat