Images credit & copyright: NASA & Orbital ATK.
LAUNCH ALERT: Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 07:14 EST (12:14 UTC) an Orbital ATK Antares 230 rocket will be launching from Launch Pad 0A (LP-0A) at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) on the South end of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility (WFF), Virginia, carrying the Cygnus cargo ship (S.S. Gene Cernan/Cygnus 9) as part of Orbital ATK-8 (OA-8) to resupply the International Space Station (ISS).
After rendezvous with Station on Monday, November 13, it will be grappled via Canadarm2 and berthed to the Earth facing (nadir) side of Station’s Unity Module (Node-1) where it’s scheduled to remain until approximately December 4 before being loaded with waste and released to disintegrate in Earth’s atmosphere.
This will be the 7th launch of the Antares rocket, the second launch of Antares in its 230 configuration, the 8th of 10 contracted launches of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft and the 5th “enhanced” version of Cygnus.
S.S. Gene Cernan: As with every Cygnus flight it has bestowed upon it, a name to honor a prominent member in the space industry. This mission’s (OA-8 or CRS-8) Cygnus vehicle has been designated the S.S. Gene Cernan. Gene Cernan was a Naval Aviator and veteran of Gemini 9A, Apollo 10 and the 11th person to set foot on the Moon as Commander of Apollo 17. He was also the last to get back into the LEM before leaving the moon, making him the last man on the moon and the amazing 2014 documentary which bears that very name, “The Last Man on the Moon” is a must see for any space enthusiast.
Cygnus Spacecraft: An expendable, uncrewed, 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 lb. or 3,380 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.
Orbital ATK Antares 230 Rocket: Formerly known as Taurus II, the Antares Launch Vehicle is a two-stage (with optional third stage) medium-lift rocket. It stands 42.5 m (139 ft.) high and is 3.9 m (13 ft.) in diameter.
Antares 230 numbering system explained:
2: Two NPO Energomash RD-181 first stage engines.
3: One Castor 30XL solid fuel second stage motor.
0: No third stage.
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).
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) Hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) and aluminium solid fueled motor with thrust vectoring capability that burns for 156 seconds. The CASTOR-30XL replaced the Castor 30B which can still be used mission permitting.
First Core/Boost Stage (First Stage): is 27.6 m (90.5 ft.) in height, 3.9 m (12.8ft.) in diameter and is powered by 2 Russian RD-181 engines built by NPO Energomash utilizing liquid oxygen (LOX) as oxidizer and Rocket Propellant 1 (LP-1) as fuel. They have a combined thrust of 3,844 kN (864,000 lb.) and a specific impulse of 311.9 seconds at sea level, 339.2 seconds in a vacuum with a burn time of 215 seconds.
Go ANTARES! Go CASTOR! Go CYGNUS! and Go OA 8!
Launch webcast begins: Saturday, November 11 at 07:00 EST (12:00 UTC).
Rendezvous & capture webcast begins: Monday, November 13 at 04:14 (EST) 09:14 (UTC).
Berthing coverage begins: Monday, November 13 at 07:00 (EST) 12:00 (UTC).
NASA TV Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv
NASA YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/NASAtelevision
OA-8 Mission Info:
NASA, Cygnus S.S. Gene Cernan Details: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/Orbital-Gene-Cernan-Supply-Delivery
Orbital ATK OA-8 Mission Page: https://www.orbitalatk.com/news-room/feature-stories/OA8-Mission-Page/default.aspx
Orbital ATK OA-8 Fact Sheet: https://www.orbitalatk.com/news-room/feature-stories/OA8-Mission-Page/Documents/FS004_17_Cygnus_OA-8.pdf
General 2017 Launch List (Wiki): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_in_spaceflight
Orbital ATK Social Media:
Orbital ATK homepage: https://www.orbitalatk.com/
All NASA social Media: https://www.nasa.gov/socialmedia
Orbital ATK Antares Launch Vehicle:
Orbital ATK Antares: https://www.orbitalatk.com/flight-systems/space-launch-vehicles/antares/default.aspx
Antares Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antares_(rocket)
Orbital ATK Cygnus Spacecraft:
Cygnus Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cygnus_(spacecraft)
Wallops Flight Facility & the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (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/
Thales Alenia Space: