Nov. 9, 2016
NASA, Orbital ATK Target Spring 2017 for Next Cargo Mission
Orbital ATK has contracted with United Launch Alliance (ULA) for an Atlas V rocket for the company’s next cargo resupply mission for NASA to the International Space Station. This will be Cygnus’ third flight atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Launch is targeted for spring 2017.
This mission is one of Orbital ATK’s previously awarded 11 missions under its first commercial resupply services (CRS-1) contract with NASA. Both the agency and Orbital ATK mutually agreed to use of the Atlas V in order to expedite the company’s seventh contracted resupply mission, and their CRS-1 contract was modified Nov. 8, 2016.
“We’re continuously working with all our partners on range availability, space station traffic and other factors to maximize utilization, operation of the station in a safe and effective way as we use it as our test bed for preparing for longer duration missions farther into the solar system, including the Journey to Mars,” said Kirk Shireman, manager, ISS Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
NASA, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport and Orbital ATK continue to work toward the next Antares launch from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facilities in Virginia. Missions from that facility will resume with Orbital ATK’s eighth and subsequent resupply missions to the station next year.
Orbital ATK launched a successful flight Oct. 17 from Wallops on its upgraded Antares. By contracting with ULA for its next flight, the company will be able to meet NASA’s near and long term cargo needs.
“The schedule provides margin flexibility for our Antares workforce, who worked tirelessly for the past several months to prepare and successfully launch the upgraded rocket from Wallops Island on our sixth contracted commercial resupply services mission,” said Frank DeMauro, vice president, Orbital ATK. “This plan also allows NASA to again capitalize on the operational flexibility built into Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft to assure the space station receives a steady and uninterrupted flow of vital supplies, equipment and scientific experiments.”
NASA and its partners’ long-term planning for operating the station ensures that astronauts aboard the station are safe and have sufficient supplies. In addition to the recent Cygnus delivery to station, a Russian Progress and Japanese HTV will carry additional cargo to the orbiting laboratory before the end of the year.
NASA’s and the National Lab’s research and technology development activities continue aboard the space station. Keep up with the International Space Station, and its research and crews, at: http://www.nasa.gov/station
Learn more about Orbital ATK's missions at: http://www.nasa.gov/orbitalatkhttp://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-orbital-atk-target-spring-2017-for-next-cargo-mission