Image Credit & Copyright: NASA of Orbital Sciences Cygnus S.S. Janice Voss during Orb-2. Look below for links to stream the launch live and maps of where you can see the launch from the east coast.

I hope everyone enjoyed today’s partial solar eclipse and this past week’s Orionids meteor shower (I envy you). Now it’s time to fire some rockets off the planet!

Monday, October 27, 2014 at 22:44 UTC (18:44 EDT) from Launch Pad-0A (LP-0A) at Wallops Flight Facility (WFF), Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Virginia; Orbital Sciences will be launching Cygnus Spacecraft atop an Antares rocket as part of Orb-3. This will be Orbital’s fifth launch of the Antares rocket, fourth overall flight to the International Space Station (ISS) and the third official resupply mission as part of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) initiative. This will also be the maiden launch of the new Castor-30XL second stage engine.

After free-drift the spacecraft will rendezvous with the ISS in the early hours of November 7 where it will be grappled via the Canada-Arm and berthed to the Harmony Module (aka “Node-2” or the “Utility Hub”). It will remain for approximately one month (estimate departure December 3) before being loaded with waste and released to disintegrate in Earth’s atmosphere.

As with every Cygnus flight, it’s been given a name to honor someone in the industry. This missions (Orb-3) Cygnus vehicle has been designated the S.S. Deke Slayton. Donald Kent Slayton was a bomber pilot in WWII, flying 63 combat missions over Europe and Japan. Later he would receive his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and go on to became a Boeing engineer before he was recalled to service. He would later become a test pilot at Edwards AFB and then go on to join the illustrious Mercury 7; the first ever U.S. astronaut class.

During this time he would be diagnosed with a heart condition which kept him from flying. In fact, he was the only member of Mercury 7 that did not fly during Project Mercury. Undeterred, he became the Coordinator of Astronaut Activities which later became the Chief of the Astronaut Office where he had a major role in selecting Gemini and Apollo astronauts.

In 1972 his flight status was fully restored and in 1975 flew as a one of two U.S. astronauts on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. After ASTP (which would be his only spaceflight) he continued to work as a pioneer in the industry as head of the space shuttle approach and landing tests and was also responsible for the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) 747’s. After retirement, he went to work for Space Services Inc. out of Houston which specialized in developing rockets to carry commercial payloads.

 CYGNUS SPACECRAFT = 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. CYGNUS Fact Sheet: https://www.orbital.com/AdvancedSystems/Publications/Cygnus_factsheet.pdf

 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) Castor 30B second stage engine. 0) Third stage not utilized.

MAIN PAYLOAD FAIRING = 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 = 4.2 meters (13.8ft) in height and 2.3 meters (7.5) in diameter. It’s powered by a single ATK Castor-30XL solid fueled engine with thrust vectoring capability that burns for 127 seconds. The new Castor-30XL replaced the Castor 30B (CASTOR 120 Heritage).

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 AJ26-62 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 Earth’s 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 & GO ORB-3!!!


NASA-TV: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/

USTREAM NASA-TV: http://www.ustream.tv/NASAHDTV

LIVESTREAM NASA-TV: http://www.livestation.com/en/nasa-tv


Orbital Sciences Orb-3 Mission Page (to include viewing maps): https://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/MissionUpdates/Orb-3/

NASA Orb-3 Viewing Maps: http://www.nasa.gov/content/first-nighttime-launch-of-the-antares-rocket-scheduled-oct-27-from-wallops/

Orb-3 S.S. Deke Slayton: http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/MissionUpdates/Orb-3/Files/Deke%20Slayton%20one-pager.pdf



Orbital Sciences Twitter: https://twitter.com/OrbitalSciences

Orbital Sciences Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OrbitalSciencesCorp

Orbital Sciences Flickr Stream: https://www.flickr.com/photos/orbitalsciences/

NASA Wallops main page: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wallops/home/

NASA Wallops Twitter: https://twitter.com/NASA_Wallops

NASA Wallops Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NASAWFF

Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS): http://www.marsspaceport.com/


Antares Launch Vehicle Page (with links to PDF’s etc.): https://www.orbital.com/LaunchSystems/SpaceLaunchVehicles/Antares/

Antares Fact Sheet: https://www.orbital.com/LaunchSystems/Publications/Antares_factsheet.pdf

Orbital CYGNUS Fact Sheet: https://www.orbital.com/AdvancedSystems/Publications/Cygnus_factsheet.pdf

Orbital Sciences COTS PDF Fact Sheet: https://www.orbital.com/AdvancedSystems/Publications/CRS_factsheet.pdf

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