Launch Aboard ULA Atlas V Rocket is First of Three Cargo Missions
Scheduled for NASA in 2016
S.S. Rick Husband Spacecraft Operating as Planned Early in Mission;
Arrival at ISS Scheduled for March 26
DULLES, Va.Mar. 23, 2016--
Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE:OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense
technologies, successfully launched its CygnusTM spacecraft
aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch vehicle with
approximately 7,900 pounds (3,600 kilograms) of cargo and small
satellites that will be deployed directly from the spacecraft. The
launch marks the beginning of the company s fifth operational cargo
resupply mission (OA-6) for NASA, and the first Cygnus to conduct
scientific experiments onboard the spacecraft. Cygnus will deliver vital
equipment, supplies and experiments to astronauts aboard the
International Space Station (ISS) as part of its Commercial Resupply
Services-1 (CRS-1) contract with NASA.
Orbital ATK's Cygnus spacecraft was launched aboard United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket carrying cargo to the International Space Station for NASA's CRS-1 program. Photo credit: NASA TV
Lift-off of the Atlas V rocket took place at 11:05 p.m. (EDT) on March
22 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Following a 21-minute
ascent, the S.S. Rick Husband Cygnus spacecraft was successfully
deployed into its intended orbit approximately 144 miles above the
Earth, inclined at 51.6 degrees to the equator. Orbital ATK s
engineering team confirmed that reliable communications have been
established and that the vehicle s solar arrays are fully deployed,
providing the necessary electrical power to operate the spacecraft.
Today s successful launch continues our great progress and momentum
under the CRS contract with NASA, said Frank Culbertson, President of
Orbital ATK s Space Systems Group. I applaud the numerous professionals
at NASA, ULA and Orbital ATK for their hard work and dedication. While
we are still early in this mission, everything is tracking well. We now
eagerly await Cygnus berthing with the ISS and conducting scientific
experiments onboard the spacecraft for the first time.
Cygnus will be grappled at approximately 6:00 a.m. (EDT) on Saturday,
March 26. The spacecraft will remain attached to the ISS for
approximately two months before departing with roughly 4,400 pounds
(2,000 kilograms) of disposable cargo for a safe, destructive reentry
into Earth s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. Cygnus large-volume and
pressurized disposal cargo capability, a critical service to NASA, is
unique among America s commercial cargo providers.
Under the CRS contract with NASA, Orbital ATK will deliver approximately
59,000 pounds (26,800 kilograms) of cargo to the ISS over 10 missions
through 2018. For these missions, NASA will manifest a variety of
essential items based on ISS program needs, including food, clothing,
crew supplies, spare parts, laboratory equipment and scientific
The OA-6 mission allows Cygnus to demonstrate its unique flexibility as
a spacecraft with capability to launch atop multiple launch vehicles and
serve as a platform for science experiments. Once it departs the ISS,
Cygnus will enter a specific orbit to deploy five CubeSats, utilizing a
NanoRacks CubeSat deployer. Taking place onboard Cygnus, the Spacecraft
Fire Experiment-I (Saffire-I) will study the behavior of a large fire in
microgravity. The final experiment to take place aboard the S.S. Rick
Husband will be the Reentry Breakup Recorder (REBR). The REBR will
measure and record Cygnus breakup as it reenters Earth s atmosphere.
The Cygnus system, which consists of a common service module and a
pressurized cargo module (PCM), achieves high reliability by
incorporating numerous elements from flight-proven spacecraft
technologies. The service module is built and tested at Orbital ATK s
Dulles, Virginia manufacturing facility. It uses avionics systems from
Orbital ATK s LEOStar and GEOStar satellite product lines, plus
propulsion and power systems from the company s GEOStar communications
satellites. The recently extended PCM, which is based on the
Multi-Purpose Logistics Module developed by Thales Alenia Space for
NASA, enables Cygnus to carry over 50 percent more cargo than the
previous version. The enhanced Cygnus also uses Orbital ATK s UltraFlexTM
solar arrays, which are the latest in lightweight, space-qualified,
electrical power technology. The arrays were manufactured at Orbital
ATK s Goleta, California facility.
Orbital ATK s composite structures and retro motors also supported
today s launch of the ULA Atlas V rocket. The company manufactured a
10-foot diameter composite heat shield for the launch vehicle, using
advanced fiber placement manufacturing techniques at its Luka,
Mississippi facility. The Elkton, Maryland facility contributed eight
Orbital ATK retro motors, providing thrust for separation of the spent
Orbital ATK has two additional CRS missions scheduled in 2016 to support
NASA s ISS cargo and payload mission needs. The company s upgraded
Antares launch vehicle remains on schedule for a full-power hot-fire
test in late spring. Flight operations for Cygnus and Antares will
resume mid-year from NASA s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia.
Beginning in 2019, Orbital ATK will continue its support of the ISS and
its crew by carrying out a minimum of six initial cargo missions under
the recently awarded CRS-2 contract.
B-roll and animation footage for the mission can be found at:
note that media will need to request a PIN for access.
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, Inc.
Vicki Cox, 410-409-8723
Systems Group Public Relations
Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528
Public and Investor Relations