Orbital ATK to Return Antares to Flight


Image credit & copyright: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Launch Alert!: Sunday, October 16 at 20:03 EDT (00:03 UTC on the 17th) Orbital ATK will return their Antares rocket to flight with the launch of OA-5, International Space Station (ISS) resupply mission from Launch Pad-0A (LP-0A) at Wallops Flight Facility (WFF), Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Virginia.


This will be the 6th launch of the Antares rocket and the first launch in its new Antares 230 configuration. This will also be the 6th of 10 contracted launches of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft and the 3rd “enhanced” version of Cygnus.

The first two “enhanced” Cygnus spacecraft, (S.S. Deke Slayton II on OA-4 and S.S. Rick Husband on OA-6) were launched by the United Launch Alliance (ULA) on their Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, FL while the company was upgrading Antares from the Antares 130 to the Antares 230 and while the company itself morphed from Orbital Sciences into Orbital ATK. You will also notice that the mission designations have changed from “Orb” to “OA” designations.

After rendezvous with Station, it will be grappled via Canadarm-2 and berthed to the Earth facing (nadir) side of the Unity Module (Node-1). It will remain for approximately one month before being loaded with waste and released to disintegrate in Earth’s atmosphere.

Image: NASA

Image: NASA

Cygnus S.S. Alan Goodwin “Dex” Poindexter:

As with every Cygnus flight, it’s been given a name to honor someone in the industry. This missions (OA-5) Cygnus vehicle has been designated the S.S. Alan G. Poindexter.


Alan “Dex” Poindexter was a U.S. Navy Captain who, at the time of hire by NASA, had logged more than 4,000 flight hours in over 30 different types of aircraft and successfully completed more than 450 aircraft carrier landings.

His career as a NASA astronaut included two shuttle flights (STS-122 Atlantis and STS-131 Discovery) to help build, upgrade and repair the International Space Station (ISS).

Dex was sadly killed in the summer of 2012 in a jet-ski accident. He is survived by his wife, Lisa and two sons, Zachary and Samuel.



Cygnus Spacecraft: is an expendable, unmanned, pressurized cargo re-supply spacecraft that’s 6.3 m (21 ft.) in length by 3.07 m (10.1 ft.) in diameter. This iteration of Cygnus boasts a great increase in payload capacity (roughly 7,600 lbs. or 3,500 kg) due to the increased size of the ship with its stretched or “enhanced” Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM) as well as lighter weight components such as the ATK Ultraflex solar arrays.

CYGNUS Fact Sheet: https://www.orbitalatk.com/space-systems/human-space-advanced-systems/commercial-resupply-services/docs/FS006_08_OA_5449%20Cygnus.pdf

Orbital ATK Antares 230 Rocket: Formerly known as Taurus II, the Antares Launch Vehicle is a 2 stage (with optional third stage) medium-lift rocket. 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.

Launch Mass: 298,000 kg (656,977 lb.)

Mass to Low Earth Orbit (LEO): 7,000 kg (15,432 lb.)

Mass to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO): 2,700 kg (5,952 lb.)

Mass to Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO): 3,000 kg (6,614 lb.)

Main Payload Fairing (PLF): Two-shell composite 9.9 m (32.5ft.) high and 3.9 m (12.8ft.) in diameter.

Third Stage (optional): There are two optional third stage variations for the Antares 230; the STAR 48-Based Third Stage (48BV) and the Bi-Propellant Third Stage (BTS). Neither of these will be used during this flight.

Second Stage: 4.2 m (13.8ft.) in height and 2.3 m (7.5 ft.) in diameter. It’s powered by a single Orbital ATK CASTOR-30XL (CASTOR 120 heritage) solid fueled engine with thrust vectoring capability that burns for 127 seconds. The CASTOR-30XL replaced the Castor 30B which can still be used mission permitting.

First Core/Boost Stage: is 27.6 m (90.5 ft.) in height and 3.9 m (12.8ft.) in diameter and is powered by 2 Russian RD-181 engines built by NPO Energomash. They utilize liquid oxygen (LOX) as oxidizer and Rocket Propellant 1 (LP-1) kerosene and has a burn time of 215 seconds.


Stream Live:

NASA TV: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

NASA TV Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv

OA-5 Mission Information:

Main mission page: https://www.orbitalatk.com/news-room/feature-stories/OA5-Mission-Page/default.aspx?prid=180

OA-5 mission fact sheet: https://www.orbitalatk.com/news-room/feature-stories/OA5-Mission-Page/Documents/OA-5.pdf

Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) fact sheet: https://www.orbitalatk.com/space-systems/human-space-advanced-systems/commercial-resupply-services/docs/FS003_08_OA_5033_CRS.pdf

NASA OA-5 press release (pre-delay): https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-tv-coverage-set-for-orbital-atk-resupply-mission-to-space-station-0

Antares Rocket & Cygnus Spacecraft:

Antares Launch Vehicle (with links to PDF’s etc.): https://www.orbitalatk.com/flight-systems/space-launch-vehicles/antares/default.aspx

Antares fact sheet: https://www.orbitalatk.com/flight-systems/space-launch-vehicles/antares/docs/FS007_06_OA_3695_Antares.pdf

Cygnus fact sheet: https://www.orbitalatk.com/space-systems/human-space-advanced-systems/commercial-resupply-services/docs/FS006_08_OA_5449%20Cygnus.pdf

Cygnus ISS Payload Opportunities on Cygnus fact sheet: https://www.orbitalatk.com/space-systems/human-space-advanced-systems/commercial-resupply-services/docs/FS009_13_OA_3862%20Cygnus%20Payload%20Opportunities.pdf

Orbital ATK:

Orbital ATK homepage: https://www.orbitalatk.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/OrbitalATK

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OrbitalATK/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/orbital_atk/

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/orbital-atk

 Wallops & MARS:

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/

General ISS Pages:

NASA’s HDEV 24hr LIVE streaming feed from the ISS: https://danspace77.com/2014/05/07/nasahdev-deliver-live-streaming-view-of-earth-from-the-iss/

NASA ISS main mission page: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/

NASA ISS Blog: http://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/

ISS Main Twitter: https://twitter.com/Space_Station

ISS Research Twitter: https://twitter.com/ISS_Research

ISS CASIS Twitter: https://twitter.com/ISSCASIS?lang=en

ISS Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ISS

ISS CASIS Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ISSCASIS

ISS Instagram: http://instagram.com/iss

ISS CASIS Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iss_casis/

NASA Astronauts: https://www.nasa.gov/astronauts

NASA Astronauts Twitter: https://twitter.com/NASA_Astronauts

NASA ISS multimedia pages: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/multimedia/index.html

NASA ISS Photos (All the photos you will ever need from the ISS): http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/station/index.html

NASA “2 Explore” Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nasa2explore/

NASA “HQ Photostream” Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nasahqphoto/

NASA HQ Photo Twitter: https://twitter.com/nasahqphoto

NASA “Goddard” Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/

NASA Spaceflight TMA-15M: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31414.0

Roscosmos homepage: http://www.federalspace.ru/

Great ISS schedule page: http://spaceflight101.com/iss/iss-calendar/

All ISS Expeditions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_International_Space_Station_expeditions

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