Initial Data Points to Successful Hot Fire of Upgraded First Stage
and New Propulsion System
Company on Track for July Launch of OA-5 CRS Mission to the
International Space Station from NASA s Wallops Flight Facility
DULLES, Va.May 31, 2016--
Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense
technologies, today announced it conducted a full-power "hot fire" test
of the upgraded first stage propulsion system of its Antares
medium-class rocket using new RD-181 main engines. The 30-second test
took place at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) on May 31, 2016 at Virginia Space s
Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad 0A. Initial indications are
that the test was fully successful. The Antares engineering team will
review test data over the next several days to confirm that all test
parameters were met. Assuming the success of the test is confirmed, it
will clear the way for the resumption of Orbital ATK s cargo logistics
missions to the International Space Station (ISS) from Wallops Island,
Virginia, currently scheduled for July.
Orbital ATK conducted a full-power "hot fire" test of the upgraded first stage propulsion system of its Antares medium-class rocket using new RD-181 main engines today at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. Preliminary data points to a successful test with final results pending a full review. (Photo: Business Wire)
Early indications show the upgraded propulsion system, core stage and
launch complex all worked together as planned, said Mike Pinkston,
Orbital ATK General Manager and Vice President, Antares Program.
Congratulations to the combined NASA, Orbital ATK and Virginia Space
team on what appears to be a successful test.
The primary goal of the test was to verify the functionality of the
integrated first stage, including new engines, modified Stage 1 core,
avionics, thrust vector control and pad fueling systems in an
During the test, a number of operational milestones were met including
full propellant loading sequence, launch countdown and engine ignition
and shut down commands, as well as multiple throttle settings including
full engine power. The test also validated the launch pad s operation,
including propellant tanking and the use of the water deluge system to
protect the pad from damage and for noise suppression.
Orbital ATK will now purge and clean the engines of residual propellants
and return the first stage used in this test to the Horizontal
Integration Facility for full reconditioning prior to its use on the
OA-7 mission slated for later this year. The Orbital ATK team will
continue to prepare the Antares rocket that will launch the OA-5
mission, which is in the final stages of integration, systems testing
and check-out in preparation for launch this summer.
Each of the new flight RD-181 engines has undergone hot fire acceptance
testing at the manufacturer s facility prior to being shipped to Orbital
ATK. A certification test series was successfully completed in the
spring of 2015 where a single engine was test fired seven times,
accumulating 1,650 seconds of test time and replicating the Antares
flight profile, before being disassembled for inspection.
The successful stage test, along with the extensive testing of each new
RD-181, gives us further confidence in the first stage propulsion and in
moving forward to launch, said Pinkston. We are now focused on the
OA-5 mission and launching the enhanced Cygnus spacecraft to the
International Space Station on our upgraded, higher-performing Antares
The enhanced Cygnus recently flew on the successful OA-4 and OA-6
missions, launched in December and March, respectively. The spacecraft
has several new features, including larger cargo capacity, the use of
Orbital ATK s lightweight UltraFlexTM solar arrays, a mass
optimized service module structure and a lighter weight propulsion
system. Cygnus, like most Orbital ATK spacecraft, is compatible with
multiple launch vehicles, enabling the recent use of United Launch
Alliance s Atlas V launch vehicle. The OA-5 mission will be the first
Antares mission to launch the enhanced Cygnus.
Orbital ATK has successfully completed five cargo delivery missions to
the ISS, including a demonstration mission in 2013 and four operational
missions under the CRS-1 contract from 2014 to present. In total, the
company has delivered 24,000 pounds (10,900 kilograms) of essential
equipment and supplies in support of ISS crew and operations.
Under the CRS contract with NASA, Orbital ATK will deliver approximately
62,000 pounds (28,000 kilograms) of cargo to the ISS over 11 missions
through 2018. The partnership is changing the way NASA does business,
helping build a strong American commercial space industry and freeing
the agency to focus on developing the next-generation rocket and
spacecraft that will enable humans to travel farther in space than ever
before. Orbital ATK is also on contract for six initial missions for the
follow-on CRS-2 program.
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.
Source: Orbital ATK
Trina Helquist, 480-814-6504
Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528
Public and Investor