17 July 2014
Orbital Sciences Corp. (NYSE: ORB) said that its Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft successfully completed its rendezvous and approach maneuvers with the International Space Station and was grappled and berthed with the station by the Expedition 40 astronaut crew.
After Cygnus was launched into orbit by Orbital´s Antares rocket on Sunday, July 13, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA´s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia, it completed a series of thruster firings and other maneuvers bringing the spacecraft in close proximity to the ISS.
“Our third cargo mission for NASA has proceeded very smoothly, from the Antares launch from Wallops this past Sunday to this morning´s rendezvous, grapple and installation at the Space Station,” said David W. Thompson, Orbital´s president and chief executive officer. “I am very proud of our Antares and Cygnus teams for their exceptional performance on the mission to deliver vital equipment and supplies to the crew aboard the Station. I also want to pay tribute to our former Orbital colleague and NASA astronaut, the late Dr. Janice Voss, for whom this spacecraft is dedicated.”
Cygnus is delivering approximately 3,670 pounds (1,665 kilograms) of cargo and science payloads to the Expedition 40 astronauts. The crew plans to open the Cygnus hatch and make initial ingress into its cargo module tomorrow. Cygnus will remain berthed at the ISS for approximately 30 days before departing with an estimated 2,800 pounds (1,300 kilograms) of disposable cargo.
Under a USD1.9bn contract with NASA, Orbital will use Antares and Cygnus to deliver up to 44,000 pounds (20,000 kilograms) of cargo to the ISS over eight missions, including the mission currently underway, through late 2016. For these missions, NASA will manifest a variety of essential items based on ISS program needs, including food, clothing, crew supplies, spare parts and equipment, and scientific experiments.
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. Its website is at http://www.orbital.com and on Twitter @OrbitalSciences.