Antares Rocket Boosts Approximately 7,400 Pounds, Its Heaviest Load
Cygnus to Host Science Experiments While Docked With Station
DULLES, Va.Nov. 12, 2017--
Orbital ATK (NYSE:OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense
technologies, successfully launched its Antares rocket carrying a
Cygnus spacecraft today at 7:19 a.m. EST, from NASA s Wallops Flight
Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia. The launch is Orbital ATK s eighth
cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station for NASA.
During the mission, designated OA-8, Cygnus will deliver vital
equipment, supplies and experiments to the astronauts aboard the space
station, as well as conduct scientific experiments onboard Cygnus while
docked with the orbiting laboratory.
Orbital ATK's Antares rocket launched the company's Cygnus spacecraft loaded with approximately 7,400 pounds (3,350 kilograms) of cargo to the International Space Station November 12, 2017. (Photo: Business Wire)
The Antares rocket launched the Cygnus spacecraft loaded with
approximately 7,400 pounds (3,350 kilograms) of cargo to the crew of six
who are aboard the space station. Following an approximate nine-minute
ascent, the S.S. Gene Cernan Cygnus spacecraft, named in honor of the
late astronaut and the last man to leave the moon, was successfully
deployed into orbit. Orbital ATK s engineering team confirmed reliable
communications have been established and the vehicle s solar arrays are
fully deployed, providing the necessary electrical power to operate the
While the Antares team celebrates a successful launch today, we re
already well into building the vehicles for the next two missions, said
Scott Lehr, President of Orbital ATK s Flight Systems Group. We will be
ready to launch again whenever Cygnus needs us.
Cygnus will be grappled at approximately 4:50 a.m. EST on November 14.
The spacecraft will remain attached to the space station for
approximately three weeks before departing with more than 4,000 pounds
(approximately 2,000 kilograms) of disposable cargo. Cygnus
large-volume disposal capability, a critical service to NASA, is unique
among America s commercial cargo providers.
Today s successful launch of the OA-8 Cygnus on our Antares launch
vehicle once again demonstrates the reliability of Orbital ATK s
hardware along with our commitment to deliver critical cargo to
astronauts on the International Space Station, said Frank Culbertson,
President of Orbital ATK s Space Systems Group. Soon, Cygnus will
rendezvous with the space station to deliver valuable scientific
experiments, hardware and crew supplies to the orbiting platform. On
this mission, Cygnus will again display its flexibility as an in-orbit
science platform by supporting experiments to be performed inside the
cargo module while attached to the space station. We are proud to
dedicate this mission to Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan and his family and
look forward to celebrating the OA-8 contributions to science in his
Upon arrival at the space station, the S.S. Gene Cernan Cygnus will be
unloaded and used for the first time as an extension of the orbiting
laboratory for an experiment featuring a SpaceTango facility. TangoLab
is a reconfigurable general research facility designed for microgravity
research and development. This exercise will highlight the ability to
expand the station s capabilities for hosting experiments using the
Cygnus module. During the three weeks Cygnus remains docked, the
astronauts on the space station will perform the transfer of the lab to
Cygnus and then back to the station where it will remain. Once Cygnus is
unberthed, a NanoRacks deployer will release 14 Cubesats, a record
number for the spacecraft. Upon completion of its secondary missions,
Cygnus will perform a safe, destructive reentry into Earth s atmosphere
over the Pacific Ocean.
Under the CRS-1 contract with NASA, Orbital ATK will deliver
approximately 66,000 pounds (30,000 kilograms) of cargo to the space
station. Beginning in 2019, the company will carry out a minimum of six
cargo missions under NASA s CRS-2 contract. This 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.
The Antares rocket systems are manufactured and engineered by Orbital
ATK s Flight Systems Group primarily in Chandler, Arizona, and Dulles,
Virginia, with rocket integration taking place at NASA s Horizontal
Integration Facility at Wallops Island, Virginia. The vehicle includes
two RD-181 engines from Energomash, a core from Yuzhmash and a CASTOR
30XL solid rocket motor second stage manufactured at Orbital ATK s
facilities in Clearfield and Magna, Utah.
The Cygnus system consists of a common service module and pressurized
cargo module. The service module was built and tested at Orbital ATK s
manufacturing facility in Dulles, Virginia. Orbital ATK manufactures
several other Cygnus components at three of the company s facilities in
California: UltraFlex solar arrays in Goleta, composite structures in
San Diego and propellant tanks in Commerce.
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 13,000 people across the U.S. and in several
international locations. For more information, visit www.orbitalatk.com.
Source: Orbital ATK
Trina Patterson, 801-699-0943
Vehicles Division Public Relations
Vicki Cox, 410-409-8723
Systems Group Public Relations
Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528
Public and Investor Relations