Mission Marks First Time Cygnus to Host Science Experiments While
Attached to Space Station
S.S. Gene Cernan Now Set to Deploy Record Number of Cubesats
DULLES, Va.Dec. 6, 2017--
ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense
technologies, today announced that its Cygnus spacecraft, following a
highly successful stay as a part of the International Space Station, has
departed from the station to begin the next phase of its mission. The
S.S. Gene Cernan is now set to deploy a record number of cubesats in
orbit before reentry into the Earth s atmosphere. The OA-8 mission marks
the fourth time that Cygnus has been used for NanoRacks cubesat
deployments during its secondary payload mission phase.
Orbital ATK's OA-8 Cygnus prepares to leave the International Space Station. Credit: NASA
Cygnus departed from the International Space Station at 8:11 a.m. EST,
one day after being unberthed by the station s robotic arm and
conducting a test for NASA while still grappled. The spacecraft spent 22
days at the orbiting laboratory before leaving with approximately 6,400
pounds (2,900 kilograms) of items for disposal, marking the largest
amount of material removed by Cygnus during its cargo resupply missions.
During this period, Cygnus also acted as an extension of the space
station for the first time by successfully supporting science
experiments inside the cargo module while docked to the laboratory.
Our stay at the International Space Station proved to be extremely
productive and further demonstrated expanded capabilities for Cygnus
beyond our core functions of delivery and disposal, said Frank
Culbertson, President of Orbital ATK s Space Systems Group. Cygnus
performed flawlessly as an in-orbit science platform while attached to
the space station for the first time. Our work continues as we now begin
the next phase of the mission to deploy a record number of cubesats.
The OA-8 mission began on November 12 when Cygnus launched aboard an
Orbital ATK Antares rocket at NASA s Wallops Flight Facility. Upon
arrival at the orbiting laboratory, Cygnus delivered approximately 7,400
pounds (3,350 kilograms) of cargo and science experiments to the
astronauts, marking Orbital ATK s eighth operational mission to the
International Space Station.
Now, the S.S. Gene Cernan will use a NanoRacks cubesat deployer to
release a record 14 cubesats into orbit. Eight of the cubesats will join
Spire Global s commercial weather satellite constellation for global
ship tracking. The NanoRacks manifest also includes cubesats from NASA s
Jet Propulsion Lab. Additionally, AeroCube B/C consists of two
water-based propulsion satellites assembled by the Aerospace Corp. for
NASA s Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration, or OCSD, marking
the first propulsive satellites to deploy from the Cygnus spacecraft.
The OA-8 mission is expected to end on December 18 when Cygnus will
execute a safe, destructive reentry into Earth s atmosphere over the
Pacific Ocean. Stay informed with real-time updates on the science
experiments aboard Cygnus through Orbital ATK s Twitter account: https://twitter.com/OrbitalATK.
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
Vicki Cox, 410-409-8723
Systems Group Public Relations
Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528
Public and Investor