Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE:ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced it successfully launched its Antares™ medium-class rocket carrying a Cygnus™ cargo logistics spacecraft, beginning the company’s second operational cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Cygnus will deliver vital equipment, supplies and scientific experiments to the ISS as part of its $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. More information about the CRS mission is available at http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/MissionUpdates/Orb-2/.
Orbital's Antares rocket lifts off from the launch pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on July 13, launching essential cargo to the International Space Station. (Photo: Business Wire)
Lift-off of the Antares rocket occurred today at 12:52 p.m. (EDT) from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A located NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia. Following a 10-minute ascent, the Cygnus spacecraft was successfully deployed and placed into its intended orbit of 120 x 180 miles (190 x 290 kilometers) above the Earth, inclined at 51.6 degrees to the equator. Orbital’s engineering team has confirmed that reliable communications had been established and that the solar arrays are fully deployed, providing the necessary electrical power to command the spacecraft.
The launch of Orbital’s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft will culminate in rendezvous and berthing with the ISS on July 16 at approximately 6:39 a.m. (EDT). Cygnus will deliver 3,669 pounds (1,664 kilograms) of cargo to the Expedition 40 astronauts and remain attached to the station approximately 30 days before departing with approximately 2,950 pounds (1,340 kilograms) of disposable cargo for a safe, destructive reentry over the Pacific Ocean approximately five days later.