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  Orbital Sciences' Cygnus CRS flights in 2015-16

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Author Topic:   Orbital Sciences' Cygnus CRS flights in 2015-16
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 31213
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-09-2014 01:52 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 Announces Additional Details Concerning CRS Program and Antares Launcher Go-Forward Plans

Next Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft to Be Launched on Atlas V Vehicle in Fall 2015; Upgraded Antares Rockets to Resume Flights from Wallops Island in Early 2016

Orbital Sciences Corporation, one of the world's leading space technology companies, today (Dec. 9) announced new details in its plans to resume cargo flights to the International Space Station (ISS) and to accelerate the introduction of an upgraded Antares launch vehicle.

In formulating its go-forward plans, the company's primary objective is to fulfill its commitment to NASA for ISS cargo deliveries with high levels of safety and reliability and minimum disruption to schedules. As previously announced, these plans are expected to allow Orbital to accomplish all remaining cargo deliveries under its current Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA by the end of 2016 and with no cost increase to the space agency.

The company's go-forward plans for the CRS program and Antares launch vehicle include these major elements:

  • Atlas V Launch: Orbital has contracted with United Launch Alliance for an Atlas V launch of a Cygnus cargo spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the fourth quarter of 2015, with an option for a second Atlas V launch in 2016 if needed. The Atlas rocket's greater lift capacity will allow Cygnus to carry nearly 35% more cargo to the ISS than previously planned for CRS missions in 2015.

  • Antares Propulsion Upgrade: The company has confirmed its ability to accelerate the introduction of a new main propulsion system for the Antares rocket and has scheduled three additional CRS launches in the first, second and fourth quarters of 2016 using the upgraded vehicle. The greater payload performance of the upgraded Antares will permit Cygnus spacecraft on each of these missions to deliver over 20% more cargo than in prior plans. With necessary supplier contracts now in place, the first new propulsion systems are expected to arrive at the Antares final assembly facility at Wallops Island, Virginia in mid-2015 to begin vehicle integration and testing.

  • Wallops Launch Site Repairs: The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) has assessed the clean-up, repair and reconstruction work necessary to return the Wallops launch complex to operational status. Current plans call for repairs to be substantially completed by the fall of 2015, with recertification taking place before year end.
The flexibility of Orbital's Cygnus cargo spacecraft to accommodate heavier cargo loads, together with the greater lift capacity of the Atlas V and upgraded Antares vehicles, will allow the company to complete all currently contracted ISS deliveries in four missions instead of the five previously planned flights over the next two years. In addition, the company's revised approach is not expected to create any material adverse financial impacts in 2015 or future years as Orbital carries out the CRS cargo delivery and Antares propulsion upgrade programs.

SpaceAngel
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Posts: 154
From: Maryland
Registered: May 2010

posted 12-09-2014 03:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow; ten months to repair the pad...

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31213
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-16-2014 04:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orbital Sciences Corp. will buy directly from Russia's NPO Energomash the RD-181 engine to replace the AJ-26 implicated in the loss of Antares, Aviation Week & Space Technology reports.
Designated the RD-181, the new engine will be used on Antares in shipsets of two to accommodate as closely as possible the two-engine configuration built around the AJ-26 engines supplied by Aerojet Rocketdyne, Orbital Sciences managers said Dec. 16.

A descendant of the RD-171 that powers the Ukrainian-built Zenit launch vehicle, the RD-181 will be manufactured in the same Khimki factory that builds the RD-180 used on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V. It closely resembles the RD-191 on Russia's new Angara launcher and the RD-151 that powers South Korea's Naro-1 launch vehicle.

In testing at Energomash, "the RD-181s have seen more than two times the Antares flight duration to date, and if you take a look at some of the heritage of this engine, the RD-151 and the RD-191 combined have over 10 hr. of test time for their configuration testing," said Mark Pieczynski, Orbital's vice president for space launch strategic development.

...Energomash will deliver the first shipset next summer and a second in the fall of 2015.

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