OA-6 Mission Demonstrates Versatility and Value of Cygnus Spacecraft
S.S. Rick Husband Provided Record Shipment of Vital Cargo to
International Space Station and Used as Technology Platform for In-Space
DULLES, Va.Jun. 22, 2016--
Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE:OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense
technologies, today announced the successful completion of its second
cargo delivery mission in 2016 to the International Space Station under
NASA s Commercial Resupply Services-1 (CRS-1) contract. The mission,
known as OA-6, marked the company s fifth CRS-1 mission and the first
time its Cygnus has been used as an in-orbit research platform. Orbital
ATK, which named the Cygnus spacecraft the S.S. Rick Husband in honor
of the late NASA astronaut, carried approximately 7,900 pounds (3,600
kilograms) of science experiments and cargo to the space station. The
spacecraft also executed on three post-departure mission objectives,
including the Spacecraft Fire Experiment-I (Saffire-I), the deployment
of CubeSat satellites from the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer and the
Reentry Breakup Recorder with Wireless Sensors (REBR-W) test.
The Cygnus spacecraft that carried out the OA-6 mission departed the
International Space Station on June 14, completing an 81-day stay. Prior
to its departure, the astronauts loaded the cargo module with
approximately 4,087 pounds (1,854 kilograms) of items for disposal.
Earlier today, at approximately 9:29 a.m. EDT, Cygnus performed a safe,
destructive reentry into Earth s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean east
of New Zealand, marking the successful conclusion of the mission.
Throughout the OA-6 mission, we were able to demonstrate the
versatility and value of our Cygnus spacecraft, from its launch on an
Atlas rocket, to the flawless delivery of the largest load of
pressurized cargo in the CRS program s history, to its ability to serve
as a platform for in-space research, said Frank Culbertson, President
of Orbital ATK s Space Systems Group.
On March 22, Cygnus demonstrated its compatibility with multiple launch
vehicles for the second time as it lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station, Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
Four days later, Cygnus docked with the International Space Station,
delivering vital supplies and science experiments to the astronauts on
board. As it departed the space station, Cygnus then served as an
in-orbit research platform, further displaying its robust capabilities.
The first experiment to take place onboard Cygnus was Saffire-I, a
technology demonstration designed by NASA s Glenn Research Center.
Saffire-I begins a series of tests to study the behavior of large scale
fires in microgravity. Orbital ATK successfully sent the command to
initiate the experiment, which intentionally lit a fire that occurred in
the Cygnus pressurized cargo module. The experiment executed as intended
and NASA s Glenn Research Center is currently evaluating all data and
imagery gathered from the test. Saffire-I and future Saffire experiments
directly support the development of technologies and materials that will
make deep space exploration spacecraft safer for astronauts who live and
work in space and as NASA prepares for long duration missions on the
journey to Mars.
Following the Saffire-I experiment, Cygnus then successfully deployed
four of five CubeSats via a NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer. The satellites
are now in orbit conducting their individual missions.
The final experiment of the OA-6 mission took place during Cygnus
reentry into Earth s atmosphere. Astronauts installed the Reentry
Breakup Recorder with Wireless Sensors (REBR-W) on Cygnus prior to its
departure from the station. REBR-W, developed by The Aerospace
Corporation, will allow for better understanding of spacecraft behavior
during atmospheric reentry and breakup, leading to improved vehicle
safety and design in the future. REBR-W recorded and transmitted Cygnus
safe, destructive reentry into Earth s atmosphere that marked the
successful conclusion of the OA-6 mission.
Preparations are underway for the company s next CRS-1 mission, OA-5,
which is targeted to launch later this summer from the Mid-Atlantic
Regional Spaceport at NASA s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Orbital ATK is scheduled to complete 10 CRS-1 missions to the
International Space Station before transitioning to launch cargo
logistics missions under the CRS-2 contract in 2019.
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
Vicki Cox, 410-409-8723
Systems Group Public Relations
Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528
Public and Investor Relations