Orbital ATK (NYSE:OA) said it has launched its CygnusTM spacecraft today aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch vehicle with approximately 7,700 pounds (3,500 kilograms) of cargo for the crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS), beginning the company´s fourth operational cargo resupply mission for NASA.
Cygnus will deliver vital equipment, supplies and scientific experiments to the ISS as part of its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA.
Lift-off of the Atlas V rocket took place at 4:45 p.m. (EST) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Following a 21-minute ascent, the “S.S. Deke Slayton II” Cygnus spacecraft was successfully deployed into its intended orbit approximately 144 miles above the Earth, inclined at 51.6 degrees to the equator. Orbital ATK´s engineering team confirmed that reliable communications has been established and that the vehicle´s solar arrays are fully deployed, providing the necessary electrical power to operate the spacecraft.
The Cygnus spacecraft will be grappled at approximately 6:10 a.m. on Wednesday, December 9. Cygnus will remain attached to the station for approximately 50 days before departing with roughly 5,050 pounds (2,300 kilograms) of disposable cargo for a safe, destructive reentry over the Pacific Ocean.
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.