-- Rendezvous and Berthing Operations of Company s First Cargo
Spacecraft Proceeded Smoothly --
-- Cargo Unloading to Begin Tomorrow with 30-Day Stay at Station
DULLES, Va.Sep. 29, 2013--
Sciences Corporation (NYSE:ORB), one of the world s leading space
technology companies, today announced that its Cygnus
cargo logistics spacecraft successfully completed its rendezvous and
approach maneuvers with the International Space Station (ISS) and was
grappled and berthed with the station by the Expedition 37 astronaut
crew earlier this morning. After Cygnus was launched into orbit by
Orbital s Antares rocket on Wednesday, September 18 from NASA s Wallops
Flight Facility, it completed an extensive series of in-orbit tests and
orbit-raising maneuvers demonstrating its readiness to operate in close
proximity to the ISS. Final approach to the station began at about 3:00
a.m. (EDT) this morning, culminating with the station s robotic arm
grappling the spacecraft at 7:00 a.m. when it was about 10 meters away.
Cygnus was then guided to its berthing port on the nadir side of the
ISS Harmony module where its installation was completed just before
This entire COTS demonstration mission has been executed in textbook
fashion by the joint NASA and Orbital teams, from Antares launch 10
days ago to Cygnus berthing at the station this morning, said Mr.
David W. Thompson, Orbital s President and Chief Executive Officer. A
tremendous amount of hard work has gone into this five-year effort from
our launch vehicle and spacecraft teams, and we are all exceptionally
proud of their accomplishments. We look forward to moving ahead with
regularly scheduled ISS cargo delivery missions for NASA as early as the
end of the year.
Orbital and NASA cooperatively developed the Cygnus cargo spacecraft
under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program that
started in 2008. For the COTS demonstration mission, Cygnus carried a
relatively light load of cargo to the ISS. The ISS crew will start
unpacking the 700 kg of cargo and supplies tomorrow, which includes
food, clothing and experimental equipment. In early October, they will
begin filling the cargo module with up to 800 kg of disposal cargo prior
to its departure. For future missions, Cygnus has a total cargo up-mass
capacity of 2,000 kg in its standard configuration, expanding to 2,700
kg in its enhanced design for later missions. This first Cygnus will
remain at the ISS for 30 days before departing for a destructive reentry
over the Pacific Ocean in late October.
Following the successful completion of the COTS demonstration mission,
Orbital will begin to carry out operational missions under the $1.9
billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. The
company will deliver approximately 20,000 kg of cargo to the ISS on
eight more Antares/Cygnus missions through 2016. Each Cygnus cargo ship
will carry crew food, clothing and other supplies; spare parts and
equipment; and scientific experiments to the space station.
Orbital developed the Cygnus cargo spacecraft as part of its COTS joint
research and development initiative with NASA. Cygnus consists of a
common Service Module (SM) and a Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM). The SM
incorporates avionics, power, propulsion and communications systems
already successfully flown aboard dozens of Orbital s LEOStar and
GEOStar satellites. The PCM, designed and built by Thales Alenia Space
under a subcontract from Orbital, is based on the Multi-Purpose
Logistics Module (MPLM) previously used with the Space Shuttle. With a
full load of cargo and fuel, the standard-configuration Cygnus weighs
about 5,200 kg at launch and generates 3.5 kw of electrical power while
in orbit. It is capable of extended-duration missions of a year or
longer in space.
Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and
space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers.
The company s primary products are satellites and launch vehicles,
including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary
spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense
missions; human-rated space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar and other
missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into
orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as interceptor and
target vehicles. Orbital also provides satellite subsystems and
space-related technical services to government agencies and
laboratories. More information about Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com.
Follow the company on Twitter @OrbitalSciences.
Source: Orbital Sciences Corporation
Orbital Sciences Corporation
Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528
and Investor Relations