Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA) has successfully launched its Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch vehicle, the company said.
The spacectaft is carrying approximately 7,600 pounds (3,450 kilograms) of cargo as well as 38 cubesats, many built by university students, which will be deployed directly from either the space station or the spacecraft in the coming months.
The launch marks the company´s seventh operational cargo resupply mission (OA-7) for NASA under its Commercial Resupply Services-1 (CRS-1) contract. The spacecraft, named the S.S. John Glenn in honor of the late astronaut, will also become the third Cygnus to conduct scientific experiments following its departure from the station.
For this mission, Cygnus is carrying a variety of essential items including food, clothing, crew supplies, spare parts, laboratory equipment, and scientific experiments. Among the cargo that will be delivered are four powered, mid-deck lockers. Resembling freezers, these lockers receive power from Cygnus in order to maintain a constant internal temperature after they are loaded into the pressurized cargo module. Each locker will carry critical science experiments for the crew.
Orbital ATK designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for global customers, 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. The company employs approximately 12,500 people in 18 states across the US and in several international locations.