ORBITAL SCIENCES ANTARES & CYGNUS 1 IS READY FOR FLIGHT!
Photo By: Orbital Sciences (CLICK for full size photo. Also, links for LIVE streaming of the launch and other data below).
Yet another major event in spaceflight this week that will be a “first”, this time to the ISS from the coast of Virginia, USA.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 1516 UTC (1116 EDT) an Orbital Sciences Antares rocket flying in its 1-2-0 configuration will for the second time, stretch its space faring legs from Launch Pad-0A at Wallops Flight Facility (WFF), Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Virginia. This time it has a destination, the International Space Station (ISS) as part of NASA’s COTS Program (Flight ORB-D1). This will be the second Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) flight for Antares but the first time it will have a fully functional Cygnus re-supply cargo spacecraft to be berthed to the Harmony Node on the ISS.
Following the two COTS missions this year (assuming all goes to plan) the 1st of 8 already contracted Commercial Resupply Service (CRS) missions to the ISS is slated for late 2013 (Known as “ORB-1”). All launches at this time will be from MARS/WFF, VA. So if you live along the Mid-Atlantic Seaboard prepare for just an incredible year of historic moments unfolding multiple times in the coming years.
CYGNUS SPACECRAFT = is an expendable, unmanned, pressurized cargo re-supply spacecraft built by Thales Alenia of Italy. Its 3.6 meters (11.8ft) in length, 3 meters (9.8ft) in diameter and has a pressurized volume of 18.9 cubic meters. The spacecraft is scheduled for a single COTS Demo Flight (ORB-D1) and 8 active CRS Flights. Once at the ISS after free drift Cygnus will be grappled and berthed to the Harmony Module of the ISS. Cygnus does not have reentry capability, when it is un-berthed from the ISS it will be packed with waste material, de-orbited and burn up in Earths atmosphere.
ANTARES ROCKET = Formerly known as Taurus II, the newly renamed Antares Launch Vehicle is a 2 stage medium-lift rocket (with optional 3rd stage). It stands 40.5 meters (132.8ft) high and is 3.9 meters (12.9ft) in diameter. The (1-2-0) numbering system for Antares goes as follows: 1) Two standard AJ26-62 first stage engines. 2) One Castor 30B second stage engine. 0) No optional third stage utilized.
MAIN PAYLOAD FAIRING = is a two-shell composite 9.9 meters (32.5ft) high and 3.9 meters (12.8ft) in diameter.
OPTIONAL THIRD STAGE = There are two optional third stage variations; the STAR 48BV and the Bi-Propellant Third Stage (BTS). Neither of these will be used during this flight.
SECOND STAGE = is 4.2 meters (13.8ft) in height and 2.3 meters (7.5) in diameter. It’s powered by a single ATK Castor 30B (CASTOR 120 Heritage) solid fueled engine with thrust vectoring capability that burns for 127 seconds.
FIRST CORE/BOOST STAGE = is 27.6 meters (90.5ft) in height and 3.9 meters (12.8ft) in diameter and is powered by 2 AeroJet AJ-26-62 engines which are actually converted Russian NK-33 engines, YES, the same engines that were going to fly the massive Soviet N1 Moon Rocket off of the Earths surface and on to the Moon. They are liquid fueled, burning Liquid Oxygen / Rocket Propellant-1 Kerosene (LOX/RP-1) and burn for 235 seconds.
GO ANTARES – GO CASTOR – GO CYGNUS!!!!
WATCH LIVE: http://www.NASA.gov/ntv
Orbital Sciences Orb-D1 Mission Page: http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/MissionUpdates/Orb-D1/
Antares/Cygnus Updates: http://www.orbital.com/Antares-Cygnus/
Orbital Sciences Twitter: https://twitter.com/OrbitalSciences
Orbital Sciences COTS PDF Fact Sheet: http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/COTSCRS_Fact.pdf
Cygnus PDF Fact Sheet: http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/Cygnus_fact.pdf
Spaceflight 101 Cygnus data page: http://www.spaceflight101.com/cygnus-spacecraft-information.html
Antares Rocket PDF Fact Sheet: http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/Antares_Fact.pdf
Orbital Antares Launch Vehicle Page: http://www.orbital.com/SpaceLaunch/Antares/
Antares Launch Vehicle PDF Brochure: http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/Antares_Brochure.pdf
Spaceflight 101 Antares rocket data page: http://www.spaceflight101.com/antares-launch-vehicle-information.html
Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS): http://www.marsspaceport.com/