United Launch Alliance and Orbital ATK’s Launch Readiness Review for the Atlas V rocket with the Cygnus cargo resupply module was held April 15 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Launch managers from ULA, Orbital ATK and NASA determined all is ready for a targeted launch to the International Space Station on Tuesday, April 18. The liftoff from Space Launch Complex 41 is scheduled for 11:11 a.m. EDT and there is a 30-minute launch opportunity available.
NASA, Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance, or ULA, now are targeting launch of Orbital ATK’s seventh commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station no earlier than Monday, March 27. The additional time allows the ULA team to troubleshoot a hydraulic issue discovered on ground support equipment needed for launch. Orbital ATK has contracted with ULA for its Atlas V rocket for the launch service, which will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft is packed with 7,600 pounds of supplies and research for crew aboard the orbiting laboratory. The Atlas V and Cygnus remain secure and continue to undergo processing for launch. The encapsulated Cygnus spacecraft has been mounted to the top of the Atlas V in preparation for launch.
NASA, Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance (ULA) now are targeting launch of Orbital ATK’s seventh commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station at 9 p.m. EDT Friday, March 24. An option exists to move the launch earlier to March 23, if the Eastern Range becomes available. The additional time allows the ULA team to replace and retest a first stage hydraulic component. Orbital ATK has contracted with ULA for its Atlas V rocket for the launch service, which will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft is packed with 7,600 pounds of supplies and research for crew aboard the orbiting laboratory.
A supply spacecraft set to carry thousands of pounds of experiments and equipment to the International Space Station will also carry the name John Glenn, Orbital ATK said Thursday during a ceremony dedicating the mission to the first American to orbit the Earth.
“John Glenn was probably responsible for more students studying math and science and being interested in space than anyone,” said former astronaut Brian Duffy, Orbital ATK’s vice president of Exploration Systems. “When he flew into space in 1962, there was not a child then who didn’t know his name. He’s the one that opened up space for all of us.”
Glenn, who passed away in December at age 95, was one of NASA’s original seven astronauts. After making his landmark orbital mission in February 1962, he served as a U.S. senator from Ohio. After retiring from politics, Glenn made his second spaceflight in 1998 as part of the STS-95 crew flying space shuttle Discovery.
Expedition 50 robotic arm operators Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) commanded the International Space Station’s Candadarm2 robotic arm to release the Cygnus spacecraft at 8:22 a.m. EST while the space station was flying 251 miles over the Pacific Ocean, off the west cost of Columbia. Earlier, ground controllers detached Cygnus from the station and maneuvered it into place for its departure.
Once Cygnus is a safe distance away from the station, ground controllers at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio and at Orbital ATK in Dulles, Virginia, will activate the Saffire-II experiment.
Cygnus also will release four LEMUR CubeSats from an external deployer on Friday, Nov. 25, sending them to join a remote sensing satellite constellation that provides global ship tracking and weather monitoring.
The spacecraft will remain in orbit until Sunday, Nov. 27, when its engines will fire twice, pushing it into Earth’s atmosphere, where it will burn up over the Pacific Ocean.
The Cygnus resupply craft launched Oct. 17 on an Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, for the company’s sixth NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission. The company’s seventh contracted resupply mission is targeted for spring 2017 on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket began rolling out of the Horizontal Integration Facility at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on the afternoon of Oct. 13, 2016. Launch of the Antares, with its Cygnus cargo spacecraft bound for the International Space Station, is currently scheduled for no earlier than Sunday, Oct. 16. Antares will launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s pad 0A at NASA Wallops, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore near Chincoteague.
The launch window on Oct. 16 opens at 8:03 p.m. EDT. The latest forecast from the Wallops Weather Office predicts warmer than average weather for Sunday evening. Mid- and upper-level cloudiness will increase over the Wallops region Sunday evening, as a weak cold front approaches the northern Mid-Atlantic. The main weather concern for the launch appears to be a low chance of thick clouds, and weather is currently 95 percent go.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Nicole is still affecting Bermuda, where NASA maintains a tracking station integral to launches from Wallops.
Cygnus will carry about 5,100 pounds of cargo, including crew supplies and vehicle hardware, to the space station, to support dozens of science and research investigations.
Media got a close-up look at Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft, packed with cargo for the International Space Station Tuesday, June 7, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Reporters talked with International Space Station Deputy Director Robyn Gatens and Dan Tani, mission and cargo operations senior director with Orbital ATK, about the space agency’s efforts to send supplies to the space station using commercial companies.
Orbital ATK will make its fifth Cygnus cargo delivery to the space station this summer under its Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. The agency and Orbital ATK currently are targeting July for launch of the company’s Antares rocket from Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at Wallops.
During the media event Orbital ATK announced that they will name this Cygnus spacecraft the S.S. Alan Poindexter, to honor the memory of former astronaut and Navy aviator Capt. Alan Poindexter. More information on the next Cygnus mission is available from Orbital ATK at http://go.nasa.gov/1RZdEuy.
The Cygnus spacecraft is recharging its batteries now that both of its circular solar arrays are unfolded and opened to gather the sun’s energy. “This means that we have come to a successful conclusion of our launch tonight,” said NASA Launch Commentator George Diller. Launch photo by NASA/Kim Shiflett