Orbital ATK (NYSE:OA), a global provider of aerospace and defense technologies, has successfully launched the company´s AntaresTM rocket carrying its CygnusTM spacecraft from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A on Wallops Island, Virginia, at NASA´s Wallops Flight Facility, the company said.
The launch marks Orbital ATK´s ninth cargo mission for NASA.
The Antares medium-class rocket matched its record for the heaviest cargo load carried to date with approximately 7,400 pounds (3,350 kilograms) of vital supplies and scientific equipment aboard Cygnus that will be delivered to the crew aboard the International Space Station.
Following an approximate nine-minute ascent, the “S.S. J.R. Thompson” Cygnus spacecraft, named in honor of J.R. Thompson, a distinguished provider of the space industry, was successfully deployed into orbit. Orbital ATK´s engineering team confirmed reliable communications have been established and the vehicle´s solar arrays are fully deployed, providing the necessary electrical power to operate the spacecraft.
Cygnus will be grappled at approximately 5:20 a.m. EDT on May 24. The spacecraft will remain attached to the space station for approximately seven weeks before departing with up to 7,100 pounds (approximately 3,200 kilograms) of disposal cargo. Cygnus´s large-volume disposal capability is unique among America´s commercial cargo providers and a critical service for NASA.
Once the “S.S. J.R. Thompson” unberths from the space station, a NanoRacks deployer will release six cubesats. Upon completion of its secondary missions, Cygnus will perform a safe, destructive reentry into Earth´s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.
Under the CRS-1 contract with NASA, Orbital ATK will deliver approximately 66,000 pounds (30,000 kilograms) of cargo to the space station. Beginning in 2019, the company will carry out a minimum of six cargo missions under NASA´s CRS-2 contract. This 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 exploration missions.
Orbital ATK is a global provider of 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 14,000 people across the US and in several international locations. For more information, visit www.orbitalatk.com.