The S.S. Alan Poindexter Cygnus Departs International Space Station
After Another Successful Delivery and Removal of Critical Cargo
Next Phase of Mission Marks Second Time Cygnus Used as a Science
DULLES, Va.Nov. 21, 2016--
ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense
technologies, today announced that its Cygnus spacecraft successfully
unberthed from the International Space Station, starting the second
phase of its mission before it reenters Earth s atmosphere. Orbiting on
its own, free of the ISS, the S.S. Alan Poindexter Cygnus will conduct
two secondary mission objectives as part of its flight program: the
Saffire-II payload experiment and the deployment of CubeSats to enhance
weather forecasting capabilities. This is the second time Orbital ATK
will use a Cygnus spacecraft as a platform for conducting science
experiments in space.
Orbital ATK's Cygnus cargo spacecraft is seen from the Cupola module windows aboard the International Space Station. Credits: NASA
Cygnus had a successful, month-long stay at the International Space
Station, delivering critical cargo to the astronauts, said Frank
Culbertson, President of Orbital ATK s Space Systems Group. Now, we get
another opportunity to showcase this unique spacecraft s expanded
capabilities beyond its core cargo delivery function. To use Cygnus yet
again as a research platform demonstrates a versatility and flexibility
that we are proud to offer to our customers.
Cygnus departed from the International Space Station at 8:22 a.m. EST on
November 21, completing a 29 day stay at the orbiting laboratory. The
mission, known as OA-5, began on October 17, 2016 when Cygnus launched
aboard an upgraded Antares rocket from NASA Wallops Flight Facility,
marking Orbital ATK s return to flight operations in eastern Virginia.
Upon arrival at the station, Cygnus delivered 5,300 pounds (2,400
kilograms) of cargo and science experiments to the astronauts. The
Expedition 50 crew members loaded the cargo module with approximately
2,469 pounds (1,120 kilograms) of items for disposal prior to Cygnus
The Spacecraft Fire Experiment-II (Saffire-II), which was developed at
NASA s Glenn Research Center and funded by NASA s Advanced Exploration
Systems Division, is the second in a series of tests to study the
behavior of large-scale fires in microgravity. Orbital ATK engineers
will remotely conduct this experiment from the ground once Cygnus
departs the International Space Station. The experiment will
intentionally ignite nine different experimental material samples to
help investigators better understand flammability of these materials in
a microgravity environment. All data obtained from this experiment will
be downloaded via telemetry.
Next, the S.S. Alan Poindexter will use a NanoRacks deployer to place
several CubeSats into orbit to conduct meteorological research. The OA-5
mission is slated to end on November 27 when Cygnus is scheduled for a
safe, destructive reentry into Earth s atmosphere.
Stay informed with 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 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
Public and Investor Relations