At 10:58 a.m. yesterday morning, Orbital Sciences successfully completed the second launch of its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft from Pad-OA of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
This mission is the first time a spacecraft launched from Virginia will visit the International Space Station.
Antares will deliver the Cygnus spacecraft along with 1,300 pounds of food, clothing and other cargo to the Expedition 37 crew on the International Space Station.
The Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station on Sunday, September 22. Prior to its arrival, Cygnus will perform a series of tests and maneuvers to demonstrate its readiness to rendezvous with the space station. On Sunday, the crew of Expedition 37 will operate the station’s 57-foot robotic arm to grapple Cygnus and maneuver it into the docking station.
The purpose of this mission is to demonstrate the capabilities and readiness of Orbital Sciences’ cargo delivery system as part of its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program with NASA. Orbital Sciences successfully completed the inaugural test flight of Antares and Cygnus in April.
Subsequently, Orbital Sciences will carry out eight resupply missions through 2016, delivering approximately 20,000 kilograms of cargo to the International Space Station as part of its $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.
These resupply missions will aid the crews of the International Space Station in carrying out scientific experiments in a microgravity research lab.
Following the historic LADEE launch just over a week ago, Virginia’s leadership in space exploration is evident. Through the MARS facility, Virginia offers one of only four commercial sites approved by the FAA for orbital space launches.
To learn more about Virginia’s thriving aerospace industry, click here.
Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft launch from Pad-OA of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Photo color-enhanced and courtesy of NASA/Bill Ingalls.