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Forum:Commercial Space - Military Space
Topic:[Discuss] Orbital's Antares-Cygus Orb-1 flight
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JBoeI watched a portion of the post-launch press conference and Culbertson was saying that in the future they wanted to decrease the time it takes with rendezvous with the space station. What makes duration now so much more? Even with the checks, the four+ days now seems "excessive;" I'm sure there's some sort of reason.

By the way, Robert great questions and I too like the Orbital jerseys!

Robert PearlmanThanks Jason. Transit times are determined by a number of factors, driven by an overriding desire to minimize propellant consumption. Other constraints include the availability of the launch site and traffic at the space station.

Cygnus made the trip this time in three days. ESA's ATV has a nominal transit time of five days, similar to JAXA's HTV.

Robert PearlmanMike Killian with AmericaSpace set up a couple of GoPro cameras near the launch pad and caught these views:

music_spaceDo we know why they don't use the Florida installations?
Robert PearlmanThere were technical, logistical and financial advantages to flying from Wallops Flight Facility.
  • From a technical viewpoint, Wallops is well situated for mid-inclination launches, and as the development of Pad 0-A coincided with Orbital's Antares development program, the company was able to help design the pad to meet its needs.

  • Logistically, Orbital's headquarters and other offices were already located in Dulles, Virginia, easing constraints on travel and staffing requirements.

  • Financially, the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority underwrote the cost of completing the improvements to the Mid-Atlantic Spaceport needed to launch Orbital's Antares, among other considerations.
Jim Behling
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Financially, the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority underwrote the cost of completing the improvements to the Mid-Atlantic Spaceport needed to launch Orbital's Antares, among other considerations.
The difference between what VCSFA underwrote and what Space Florida proposed has long vanished with the delays and costs to OSC with the issues at MARS. In addition, OSC thought that they would be catered to at MARS (as the BMOC) vs as just another range user at CCAFS, which turned out not to be the case. In hindsight, OSC would have been better off in Florida.
Robert PearlmanWhether or not that is true, Orbital made the choice it did with the information available at the time, before delays or other later factors could be taken into consideration.

Likewise, it is impossible to tell what the future might hold and whatever drawbacks might have weighed the scale in one or the other may still yet reverse.

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