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  [COTS] Orbital Sciences Antares A-ONE test flight

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Author Topic:   [COTS] Orbital Sciences Antares A-ONE test flight
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 03-27-2013 11:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orbital Sciences Antares A-ONE test flight

The first launch of Orbital's new Antares medium-class space launch vehicle, the A-ONE mission, is currently scheduled to occur no earlier than April 17, with a targeted date range of April 17 to 19. The A-ONE Mission will originate from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.

The goal of the A-ONE mission is to demonstrate the operational Antares launch system, from roll-out of the rocket from its integration facility, through emplacement on the pad and fueling, to launch and delivery of a simulated payload to a target orbit of 250 by 300 kilometers with an inclination of 51.6 degrees.

A successful test launch will lead to Orbital's Demonstration Mission of cargo delivery to the International Space Station. The mission is the final operational milestone under the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) agreement.

Following the successful completion of the COTS research and development program, Orbital is slated to deliver up to 20,000 kilograms of supplies to the ISS under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA.

The A-ONE and COTS demonstration missions represent the culmination of Orbital's largest product development in the 30-year history of the company.

See here for discussion of Orbital Sciences' Antares A-ONE test flight.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-05-2013 11:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orbital Sciences Antares ready for rollout

Orbital Sciences is preparing to roll out its inaugural Antares launch vehicle to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va on Saturday (April 6).


Credit: Orbital Science

The rocket was lifted onto its transporter on Thursday in preparation for its move to the pad.

The rollout, which is scheduled to begin at about 4:45 a.m. EDT (0845 GMT), is in preparation for the launch vehicle's test flight later this month. Pad operations to raise the rocket to a vertical position will begin at about 6 a.m. (1000 GMT) will take two to three hours to complete.

The launch window for Antares' test flight is between April 17 and 19.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-06-2013 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orbital Sciences release
Orbital Rolls Out Antares Rocket to Launch Pad at Wallops Island for Upcoming Test Flight

Early this morning, Orbital Sciences Corporation rolled out the first fully integrated Antares rocket from its assembly building at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) in eastern Virginia in preparation for its inaugural flight that is scheduled for April 17 at approximately 5:00 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT).

This morning (April 6), beginning at about 4:30 a.m. EDT (0830 GMT), the Antares rocket was transported about one mile to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) launch pad complex aboard the Transporter/Erector/Launcher (TEL), a specialized vehicle that also raises the rocket to a vertical position on the launch pad and serves as a support interface between the rocket and the launch complex's systems.


Credit: Twitter/@Astronut099

"With the completion of the Antares roll out today, we are on a clear path to a launch date of April 17, provided there are no significant weather disruptions or major vehicle check-out delays between now and then," Mr. Michael Pinkston, Orbital's Antares Program Manager, said.

The Antares test flight, dubbed the A-ONE mission, is the first of two missions Orbital is scheduled to conduct in 2013 under its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Space Act Agreement with NASA. Following a successful A-ONE launch, Orbital will carry out a full flight demonstration of its new Antares/Cygnus cargo delivery system to the International Space Station (ISS) around mid-year.

In addition, the company is also scheduled to launch the first of eight operational cargo resupply missions to the ISS in 2013 under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA.

All COTS and CRS flights will originate from NASA's WFF, which is geographically well suited for ISS missions and can also accommodate launches of scientific, defense and commercial satellites to other orbits.

The Antares medium-class launch system will provide a major increase in the payload launch capability that Orbital can provide to NASA, the U.S. Air Force and other customers. The Antares rocket will launch spacecraft weighing up to 14,000 pounds into low-Earth orbit, as well as lighter-weight payloads into higher-energy orbits.

Orbital's newest launcher is currently on-ramped to both the NASA Launch Services-2 and the U.S. Air Forces Orbital/Suborbital Program-3 contracts, enabling the two largest U.S. government space launch customers to order Antares for right-size and right-price launch services for medium-class spacecraft.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-14-2013 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orbital pressing ahead after issue halts countdown rehearsal

On Saturday (April 13), Orbital Sciences conducted a "wet dress rehearsal" in preparation for its Antares A-ONE test flight scheduled for launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on April 17.

"Late in the countdown, at about T-16 minutes, the test was halted because a technical anomaly was detected," the company reported.

The launch team has since determined that a secondary pyro valve in one of the two first-stage engines was not functioning properly. The valve is used during the propellant chilldown process.

Orbital plans to install a replacement valve unit within 24 hours with the goal of maintaining their planned April 17 launch date.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-15-2013 07:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orbital gives green light for Antares test flight

Orbital managers held a launch readiness review Monday afternoon (April 15) and gave a "go" to proceed toward launch, pending the outcome of a Wallops Range Authority to Proceed meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

Liftoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) Wednesday (April 17) with a launch window that runs until 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT April 18).

There is a forecasted 45 percent chance of favorable weather at the time of launch. Low clouds are the primary concern for a weather violation. If needed, back-up launch opportunities are available April 18 through 21.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-17-2013 04:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Loose umbilical scrubs Antares test flight

Scrub! Orbital Sciences on Wednesday (April 17) cut short the first attempt at launching the A-ONE test flight of their Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The countdown was halted at T-minus 12 minutes due to the "premature separation" of a launch pad umbilical connection to the rocket's upper stage, which is used for data communications.

Orbital's engineers are analyzing what occurred to determine how to resolve the issue.

The next launch attempt is tentatively set for no earlier than Friday (April 19) at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT), pending final resolution of the problem and acceptable weather conditions.

"We are still examining all of the data, but it appears that the issue is fairly straightforward," Frank Culbertson, Orbital's mission director for the test flight, said. "With this being the first launch of the new system from a new launch facility we have taken prudent steps to ensure a safe and successful outcome."

"Our scrub procedures were exercised and worked as planned," he added. "We are looking forward to a successful launch on Friday."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-18-2013 01:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orbital working toward Friday Saturday Antares launch

Orbital Sciences' Antares team has developed a go-forward plan to address the umbilical disconnect issue that resulted in Wednesday's (April 17) launch scrub. The team is currently working toward a next launch attempt Friday (April 19) Saturday (April 20) at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT), weather permitting.

During the initial countdown on Wednesday, with 12 minutes left in the count, flight controllers saw that an umbilical providing data, which connects the Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) to the upper stage of the rocket, became disconnected prior to the planned time.

The team has determined the cause was a combination of slight hydraulic movement of the TEL and not enough slack left in the umbilical to allow for any additional or unplanned movement. Neither issue alone would have caused the umbilical disconnect, however, the combination resulted in the anomaly.

Small adjustments are being made early today to both the hydraulics on the TEL and to the umbilical.

"The good news is that this is a simple adjustment to the external support systems," said Frank Culbertson, Orbital's executive vice president and mission director for the Antares test flight. "Given that this is a first run for the rocket and the first time use of a new launch facility, the fact that all systems were performing as planned while the team proceeded through the pre-launch checklists is very encouraging. It speaks volumes about the quality of the work done by this team and our partners."

The next launch attempt targeted for Friday Saturday is pending completion of the work at the pad and acceptable weather conditions.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-20-2013 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Winds scrub Antares second launch attempt, reset for Sunday

Orbital Sciences' second attempt at launching its first test flight of the Antares rocket was scrubbed Saturday (April 20) due to high upper level winds.

"Given the winds and wind direction, the debris requirement for the Range and Federal Aviation Administration could not be achieved today," Frank Culbertson, mission director for the A-ONE launch, said in a statement. "This requirement keeps any potential debris from falling outside of a predefined area in the event of an anomaly. Flight requirements dictate that we stop the countdown and pick it up when the conditions improve."

The team will attempt again Sunday (April 21) with a window opening at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-21-2013 04:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
New Antares rocket launches on test flight from Virginia spaceport

A commercial rocket designed to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) lifted off on its maiden test flight on Sunday (April 21), becoming the largest-ever booster to fly from Virginia's eastern coast.

Orbital Sciences launched its new Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's (MARS) new Pad 0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in coastal Virginia at 5:00 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT). The successful liftoff came on the third attempt, after scrubs for a loose data connection and then high winds on Thursday (April 17) and Saturday (April 20), respectively.

The mission, dubbed by Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital as "A-ONE," put the 133-foot-tall (40 meters) Antares through its paces during the course of its ten-minute flight to clear the booster for its next major milestone — demonstrating the delivery of cargo and experiments to the space station later this year.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-21-2013 05:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA partner Orbital Sciences test launches Antares rocket

NASA commercial space partner Orbital Sciences Corporation Sunday launched its Antares rocket at 5 p.m. EDT from the new Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at the agency's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The test flight was the first launch from the pad at Wallops and was the first flight of Antares, which delivered the equivalent mass of a spacecraft, a so-called mass simulated payload, into Earth's orbit.

"Today's successful test marks another significant milestone in NASA's plan to rely on American companies to launch supplies and astronauts to the International Space Station, bringing this important work back to the United States where it belongs," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "Congratulations to Orbital Sciences and the NASA team that worked alongside them for the picture-perfect launch of the Antares rocket. In addition to providing further evidence that our strategic space exploration plan is moving forward, this test also inaugurates America's newest spaceport capable of launching to the space station, opening up additional opportunities for commercial and government users.

"President Obama has presented a budget for next year that ensures the United States will remain the world leader in space exploration, and a critical part of this budget is the funding needed to advance NASA's commercial space initiative. In order to stop outsourcing American space launches, we need to have the President's budget enacted. It's a budget that's good for our economy, good for the U.S. Space program -- and good for American taxpayers."

The test of the Antares launch system began with the rocket's rollout and placement on the launch pad April 6, and culminated with the separation of the mass simulator payload from the rocket.

The completed flight paves the way for a demonstration mission by Orbital to resupply the space station later this year. Antares will launch experiments and supplies to the orbiting laboratory carried aboard the company's new Cygnus cargo spacecraft through NASA's Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.

"Today's successful test flight of Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket from the spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia, demonstrates an additional private space-launch capability for the United States and lays the groundwork for the first Antares cargo mission to the International Space Station later this year," said John Holdren, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. "The growing potential of America's commercial space industry and NASA's use of public-private partnerships are central to President Obama's strategy to ensure U.S. leadership in space exploration while pushing the bounds of scientific discovery and innovation in the 21st century. With NASA focusing on the challenging and exciting task of sending humans deeper into space than ever before, private companies will be crucial in taking the baton for American cargo and crew launches into low-Earth orbit.

"I congratulate Orbital Sciences and the NASA teams at Wallops, and look forward to more groundbreaking missions in the months and years ahead."

Orbital is building and testing its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. After successful completion of a COTS demonstration mission to the station, Orbital will begin conducting eight planned cargo resupply flights to the orbiting laboratory through NASA's $1.9 billion CRS contract with the company.

NASA initiatives, such as COTS, are helping to develop a robust U.S. commercial space transportation industry with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit. NASA's Commercial Crew Program also is working with commercial space partners to develop capabilities to launch U.S. astronauts from American soil in the next few years.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-21-2013 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
White House release
Statement on the launch of Antares

Following today's launch of Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket, John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, issued the following statement:

"Today's successful test flight of Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket from the spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia, demonstrates an additional private space-launch capability for the United States and lays the groundwork for the first Antares cargo mission to the International Space Station later this year. The growing potential of America's commercial space industry and NASA's use of public-private partnerships are central to President Obama's strategy to ensure U.S. leadership in space exploration while pushing the bounds of scientific discovery and innovation in the 21st century. With NASA focusing on the challenging and exciting task of sending humans deeper into space than ever before, private companies will be crucial in taking the baton for American cargo and crew launches into low-Earth orbit. I congratulate Orbital Sciences and the NASA teams at Wallops, and look forward to more groundbreaking missions in the months and years ahead."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-21-2013 05:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orbital Sciences Corporation release
Orbital successfully launches first Antares rocket

Orbital Sciences Corporation, one of the world's leading space technology companies, today completed a successful test launch of its new Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) located at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia. Lift-off took place at 5:00 p.m. (EDT) followed by payload separation approximately 10 minutes later and mission completion at about 18 minutes after launch, once the rocket's upper stage completed planned maneuvers to distance itself from the payload. The test flight demonstrated all operational aspects of the new Antares launcher, including the ascent to space and accurate delivery of a simulated payload to a target orbit of approximately 150 by 160 miles, with an inclination of 51.6 degrees, the same launch profile it will use for Orbital's upcoming cargo supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA.

"Today marked a giant step forward for the Antares program, with a fully successful inaugural flight of the largest and most complex rocket the company has ever developed and flown, said Mr. David W. Thompson, Orbital's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "With its successful test flight from the MARS pad at Wallops Island, we will now move forward toward completing the full demonstration mission of our system to resupply the International Space Station with essential cargo in just a couple of months."

Today's test launch, dubbed the Antares A-ONE mission, was conducted under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Space Act Agreement Orbital entered into with NASA in 2008. Following a successful demonstration mission to the ISS of Orbital's complete system in mid-2013, including the launch of the first Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft, Orbital will begin regular operational cargo delivery missions to the Space Station under its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. The $1.9 billion CRS contract calls for the delivery of up to 20,000 kilograms of essential supplies to the ISS over eight separate missions from 2013 to 2016.

In addition to supporting cargo missions to the ISS, the new Antares rocket will offer other commercial, civil government, and defense and intelligence customers affordable and reliable medium-class launch services for medium-class satellites that do not require the industry's larger, more expensive launch vehicles. Moving upward from its traditional focus on small-class rockets, Orbital's Antares medium-class launcher will provide a major increase in the payload launch capability that the company can provide to NASA, the U.S. Air Force and other potential customers. It is designed to launch spacecraft weighing up to 14,000 lbs. into low-Earth orbit, as well as lighter-weight payloads into higher-energy orbits.

Orbital's newest launcher is currently on-ramped to both the NASA Launch Services-2 and the U.S. Air Force's Orbital/Suborbital Program-3 contracts, enabling the two largest U.S. government space launch customers to order Antares for "right-size and right-price" launch services for medium-class spacecraft.

See here for discussion of Orbital Sciences' Antares A-ONE test flight.

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