Timelapse Video Captures Orbital’s Antares And Cygnus Orb-1 Mating And Launch Preparations
An Antares rocket carrying Orbital’s Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft is scheduled to lift-off from Pad-0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia no earlier than December 19, 2013. Antares will boost Cygnus to a target orbit of 210 km by 298 km, from which Cygnus will use its on-board thrusters to raise its orbit to rendezvous and berth with the International Space Station (ISS). Berthing with the ISS is scheduled to occur no earlier than December 22, 2013. For this mission Cygnus will be carrying approximately 1465 kg (3,230 lbs.) of cargo to the ISS for NASA.
The Orb-1 mission is the first of eight commercial cargo resupply missions to the ISS under the NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract, under which Orbital is slated to deliver up to 20,000 kg of supplies to the station.
Antares Mission Description
The two-stage Antares space launch vehicle utilizes a liquid-fueled first stage powered by two Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ26 engines and a solid motor ATK CASTOR 30B upper stage to boost Cygnus into orbit. The powered launch sequence will last about ten minutes from liftoff through the separation of Cygnus from the launch vehicle.
Cygnus Mission Description
After separation from Antares, Cygnus will deploy its solar arrays and undergo initial check-out. The spacecraft will conduct a series of thruster burns to raise its orbit to bring it within 4 km of the ISS prior to receiving authorization to autonomously rendezvous with the station. When the vehicle approaches to within 12 meters, the astronauts will use the station’s robotic arm to grapple Cygnus and berth it to the Harmony node of the station. Cygnus is planned to remain berthed at the ISS for 42 days during which time the station crew will load Cygnus with materials for disposal. At the end of the mission Cygnus will depart the station and reenter the Earth’s atmosphere.
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