OA-6 Mission Features First Cygnus to Conduct Scientific Experiments
Onboard the Spacecraft
Company Named OA-6 Cygnus Spacecraft the S.S. Rick Husband
DULLES, Va.Mar. 21, 2016--
Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense
technologies, today announced it is in final preparations for the
company s next enhanced CygnusTM spacecraft cargo mission to
the International Space Station (ISS). This will be Orbital ATK s fifth
operational mission (OA-6) to the ISS for NASA under the Commercial
Resupply Services (CRS) contract, and the first Cygnus to conduct
scientific experiments onboard the spacecraft. For the second time,
Orbital ATK will launch Cygnus atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas
V rocket, carrying approximately 7,900 pounds (3,600 kilograms) of cargo
to astronauts aboard the ISS and small satellites that will be deployed
directly from Cygnus.
Pending completion of final vehicle testing and acceptable local weather
conditions, the launch is scheduled for Tuesday, March 22, at 11:05 p.m.
(EDT) from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
in Florida. Cygnus will be launched into a targeted orbit of 144 miles
above the Earth, inclined at 51.6 degrees to the equator. Following
in-orbit activation and testing after launch, the spacecraft will
rendezvous and berth with the ISS on March 26 at approximately 6 a.m.
EDT. Live coverage of the launch and ISS berthing will be available on
NASA Television at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv.
Orbital ATK names each of its Cygnus spacecraft in honor of astronauts
and individuals who contributed to the United States commercial space
program. The company named the OA-6 Cygnus the S.S. Rick Husband,
honoring Husband s spirit for exploration and marking the first Orbital
ATK mission to be named after an astronaut who participated in building
the ISS. Husband was also the commander of Space Shuttle Columbia s
final mission, whose crew and vehicle were lost in February 2003.
We will further demonstrate the flexibility of the Cygnus spacecraft
during the OA-6 mission, said Frank Culbertson, President of Orbital
ATK s Space Systems Group. The S.S. Rick Husband will launch aboard an
Atlas V rocket, once again exhibiting Cygnus compatibility with various
launch vehicles. Once we fulfill our cargo resupply objectives, we will
conduct science experiments onboard the spacecraft and deploy CubeSats
during the mission; both of which are firsts for Cygnus.
In addition to delivering vital food, clothing, crew supplies, spare
parts and equipment to the ISS, Cygnus will conduct three ISS payload
mission objectives as part of its flight program. Upon departure from
the ISS, Cygnus will be placed into a specific orbit to utilize a
CubeSat deployer provided by NanoRacks. Once deployed, the five CubeSats
will begin their own autonomous missions. Another onboard trial that
will occur after Cygnus leaves the ISS is the Spacecraft Fire
Experiment-I (Saffire-I) payload. Saffire-I will be the first space
experiment to intentionally light a large-scale fire that will grow and
advance until it burns itself out.
All previous combustion experiments in microgravity have been
relatively small and controlled to ensure safety of the attending crew,
Culbertson said. By conducting the Saffire-I experiment on the unmanned
Cygnus after it departs the ISS, we eliminate this concern.
Additionally, because Cygnus provides a controlled and human-rated
environment virtually identical to that of the ISS, it is the ideal
platform for such a test. Data gathered from this experiment will deepen
our understanding of fire growth in microgravity and safeguard future
The final experiment to take place aboard the S.S. Rick Husband will be
the Reentry Breakup Recorder (REBR). Prior to departure from the ISS,
the crew will install the REBR experiment into Cygnus as they pack the
spacecraft with disposal cargo. This experiment will measure and record
the dynamics of Cygnus breakup during its safe destructive reentry into
Earth s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.
Orbital ATK has two additional CRS missions scheduled in 2016 to support
NASA s ISS cargo and payload mission needs. Following an Antares launch
vehicle full-power hot-fire test in spring, flight operations for Cygnus
and Antares will resume mid-year from NASA s Wallops Flight Facility in
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. Beginning in 2019, Orbital ATK will carry out a minimum of
six initial cargo missions under NASA s recently awarded CRS-2
contract. The 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
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 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