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Orbital Sciences Antares & Cygnus spacecraft


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#16 OP DocM

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 07:56

Before making comparisons between Antares and Falcon 9 / Falcon Heavy, understand that they are totally different classes of launcher so the competition between them is minimal.

Mass to LEO -

Antares: 5,000 kg
Falcon 9 v1.0 (retired): 10,450 kg
Falcon 9 v1.1 (with engine out): 13,150 kg
Falcon 9 v1.1 (w/o engine out): 16,000 kg
Falcon Heavy: 53,000 kg

Cygnus and Dragon are also very different; Cygnus has a greater pressurized volume than Dragon, but a smaller hatch and total mass to orbit. Cygnus also has no unpressurized cargo space, so hauling big bits for outside the ISS is out. Dragon can return to Earth while Cygnus is disposable, burning up in the atmosphere.

Big differences.

http://www.spaceflig...t/#.UWJyKb-9LTo

Antares rocket positioned on launch pad for test flight

Rolling out on a crisp morning on Virginia's Eastern Shore, the first Orbital Sciences Antares rocket left its hangar Saturday and was positioned on a seaside launch pad for liftoff on a test flight set for April 17.

The Antares rocket rolls up the ramp to the launch pad at Wallops Island, Va. Credit: NASA

The white two-stage rocket, emblazoned with an American flag on its nose, left its integration hangar before dawn riding horizontally on a specially-designed transporter. After pausing at the base of the launch pad, a hydraulic erector lifted the 133-foot Antares booster vertical at about 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT).

Now positioned on launch pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, the Antares rocket is set to undergo final testing and countdown exercises ahead of a test launch scheduled for April 17 at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT), the opening of a three-hour window.

"With the completion of the Antares rollout today, we are on a clear path to a launch date of April 17, provided there are no significant weather disruptions or major vehicle check-out delays between now and then," said Michael Pinkston, Orbital's Antares program manager, in a company statement.

The launch pad is owned by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority and lies on the property of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.

Delayed more than a year by setbacks in the launch pad's propellant handling system, the Antares test launch comes near the end of a five-year public-private partnership to develop Orbital's cargo transport system.

The mission's payload is an instrumented simulator mimicking the mass characteristics of Orbital's Cygnus spacecraft, a commercial vehicle designed to haul supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.

The demonstration launch is the first of two test flights planned under an agreement between Orbital Sciences and NASA. If this month's launch goes well, Orbital hopes to launch another Antares rocket with a functional Cygnus spacecraft this summer on a cargo delivery demo flight to the space station.

The test flights are the culmination of the agreement, in which NASA is paying Orbital up to $288 million to design, build and test the Antares booster and Cygnus freighter. Once NASA is satisfied the vehicles are safe, perhaps as soon as this fall, Orbital will begin a series of eight operational resupply flights under a $1.9 billion contract.


The Antares rocket is lifted vertical atop the launch pad Saturday. Credit: NASA

Orbital's Antares and Cygnus system joins SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft providing U.S. resupply services to the space station. NASA turned to the commercial providers to ferry cargo to the outpost after the retirement of the space shuttle.

SpaceX completed its required demo flight to the space station in May 2012, and the California-based company has accomplished the first two of a dozen operational missions since then.
>


Rollout to pad
Posted Image



#17 OP DocM

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 22:39

http://www.spaceflig...t/#.UWncVr-9LTo

Antares rocket positioned on launch pad for test flight

Rolling out on a crisp morning on Virginia's Eastern Shore, the first Orbital Sciences Antares rocket left its hangar Saturday and was positioned on a seaside launch pad for liftoff on a test flight set for April 17.

The white two-stage rocket, emblazoned with an American flag on its nose, left its integration hangar before dawn riding horizontally on a specially-designed transporter. After pausing at the base of the launch pad, a hydraulic erector lifted the 133-foot Antares booster vertical at about 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT).

Now positioned on launch pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, the Antares rocket is set to undergo final testing and countdown exercises ahead of a test launch scheduled for April 17 at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT), the opening of a three-hour window.

"With the completion of the Antares rollout today, we are on a clear path to a launch date of April 17, provided there are no significant weather disruptions or major vehicle check-out delays between now and then," said Michael Pinkston, Orbital's Antares program manager, in a company statement.

The launch pad is owned by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority and lies on the property of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.

Delayed more than a year by setbacks in the launch pad's propellant handling system, the Antares test launch comes near the end of a five-year public-private partnership to develop Orbital's cargo transport system.

The mission's payload is an instrumented simulator mimicking the mass characteristics of Orbital's Cygnus spacecraft, a commercial vehicle designed to haul supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.

The demonstration launch is the first of two test flights planned under an agreement between Orbital Sciences and NASA. If this month's launch goes well, Orbital hopes to launch another Antares rocket with a functional Cygnus spacecraft this summer on a cargo delivery demo flight to the space station.
>


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#18 OP DocM

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 23:24

MEDIA ADVISORY: M13-059

NASA SETS TV COVERAGE FOR ANTARES TEST FLIGHT

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. -- NASA's commercial partner, Orbital Sciences
Corporation of Dulles, Va., is scheduled to launch its first Antares
rocket from Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at the agency's
Wallops Flight Facility on Wednesday, April 17.

NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 4 p.m. EDT.
Liftoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. with a daily launch window that runs
until 8 p.m. If needed, back-up launch opportunities are available
April 18-21.

The Antares test flight is the first of two missions Orbital is
scheduled to conduct this year under NASA's Commercial Orbital
Transportation Services (COTS) Program. This mission will demonstrate
the Antares launch system beginning with its April 6 rollout and
placement on the launch pad through its fueling, launch, and delivery
of a mass simulator payload into orbit.

The mass simulator matches the weight and dimensions of the Cygnus
spacecraft, which Orbital has developed to deliver cargo to the
International Space Station. The simulator carries instruments to
collect data about the launch environment during the Antares flight.

In advance of the launch, NASA will host a media briefing to discuss
the Wallops Flight Facility, Orbital's activities under NASA's COTS
and Commercial Resupply Services initiatives, and the new
Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A. It will begin at 2 p.m.
Tuesday, April 16, at the Wallops Visitors Center. At 3 p.m., NASA
will host a prelaunch news conference about the test launch and
mission. Both briefings will be carried live on NASA TV and the
agency's website.

News media may request accreditation to attend the prelaunch news
conferences and launch by contacting Keith Koehler at 757-824-1579 or
keith.a.koehler@nasa.gov.

The deadline for U.S. media to apply for accreditation is Thursday,
April 11. The deadline has passed for international news media to
apply.

For NASA TV schedule and video streaming information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For an updated scheduled of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV
coverage times, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/orbital



#19 OP DocM

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 13:09

A Thursday launch may be more likely than Wednesday.

https://facebook.com...5794205863&_rdr

Orbital's Antares Wet Dress Rehearsal Test Identifies Engine Valve That Needs To Be Replaced

On Saturday, Orbital conducted the wet dress rehearsal for the Antares rocket in preparation its Test Flight scheduled for later this week on April 17. Late in the countdown, at about T-16 minutes, the test was halted because the launch team had detected a technical anomaly in the process. Orbital has determined that a secondary pyro valve aboard one of the two first-stage engines used in the propellant chilldown process was not functioning properly. A replacement unit will be installed within 24 hours with the goal of maintaining the April 17 launch date. Orbital will issue additional updates as warranted.



#20 OP DocM

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 21:08

The engine valve got fixed for a Wednesday launch (today.)

They get within minutes of liftoff when the 2nd stage umbilical line prematurely separates, disconnecting evefything.

LAUNCH SCRUBBED.

NASA is saying 24-48 hours to reset, but the weather may not cooperate.

These guys can't buy a break. A few months back they had an engine fire on the test stand at NASA Stennis, then before that their previous major launches both failed due to the payload fairings not properly separating.

Their engines are derived from the failed Russian N1 moon rocket, so maybe its jinx came along for the ride?





#21 IsItPluggedIn

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 23:42

Maybe they should get some of this.
http://nasaldeliverytechnology.com.au/

But this sucks for them, it was looking good for them, we need to get more active competition. They may need to review their quality control procedures.

#22 OP DocM

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 00:21

Latest info is that the wind caused the rockets strongback (transporter/erector tower) to flex and twist tugging the umbilical's lanyard, and that pulled out the connector. Fortunately, it was just a data umbilical.

Time to rethink wind operations, and maybe stiffen that strongback.

#23 +CrossCheck

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 00:33

http://www.spaceflig...t/#.UWncVr-9LTo



Posted Image


Even though that isn't a missile. They need to load that thing full of nukes and fire it @ North Korea.

#24 OP DocM

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 03:14

Latest news is that the range (NASA Wallops) gave Orbital Sciences a wind waiver about 3+ hours before the scheduled launch time of 5:00 PM, raising the limit from 15 to 20 knots.

Bet they don't do that again, at least until the Antares strongback gets modded to handle it.

#25 OP DocM

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 05:43

Antares A-One is now scheduled for launch on Sunday. Launch window opens at 5:00 PM Eastern.

#26 OP DocM

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 23:10

WHEW!! Good show Orbital Sciences!!

Between Orbital launchers having trouble with their payload fairings not properly separating and the umbilical issues of last week people were nervous, but Antares worked fabulously.

ORBITAL SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES FIRST ANTARES ROCKET

-- Company Introduces America’s Newest Medium-Class Space Launch Vehicle

-- Orbital Now Poised to Conduct Cargo Resupply Demonstrations Mission to International Space Station in Mid 2013


(Dulles, VA 21 April 2013) – Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today completed a successful test launch of its new Antares™ rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) located at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia. Lift-off took place at 5:00 p.m. (EDT) followed by payload separation approximately 10 minutes later and mission completion at about 18 minutes after launch, once the rocket’s upper stage completed planned maneuvers to distance itself from the payload. The test flight demonstrated all operational aspects of the new Antares launcher, including the ascent to space and accurate delivery of a simulated payload to a target orbit of approximately 150 by 160 miles, with an inclination of 51.6 degrees, the same launch profile it will use for Orbital’s upcoming cargo supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA.

“Today marked a giant step forward for the Antares program, with a fully successful inaugural flight of the largest and most complex rocket the company has ever developed and flown, said Mr. David W. Thompson, Orbital’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “With its successful test flight from the MARS pad at Wallops Island, we will now move forward toward completing the full demonstration mission of our system to resupply the International Space Station with essential cargo in just a couple of months.”

Today’s test launch, dubbed the Antares A-ONE mission, was conducted under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Space Act Agreement Orbital entered into with NASA in 2008. Following a successful demonstration mission to the ISS of Orbital’s complete system in mid-2013, including the launch of the first Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft, Orbital will begin regular operational cargo delivery missions to the Space Station under its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. The $1.9 billion CRS contract calls for the delivery of up to 20,000 kilograms of essential supplies to the ISS over eight separate missions from 2013 to 2016.

In addition to supporting cargo missions to the ISS, the new Antares rocket will offer other commercial, civil government, and defense and intelligence customers affordable and reliable medium-class launch services for medium-class satellites that do not require the industry’s larger, more expensive launch vehicles. Moving upward from its traditional focus on small-class rockets, Orbital’s Antares medium-class launcher will provide a major increase in the payload launch capability that the company can provide to NASA, the U.S. Air Force and other potential customers. It is designed to launch spacecraft weighing up to 14,000 lbs. into low-Earth orbit, as well as lighter-weight payloads into higher-energy orbits.

Orbital’s newest launcher is currently on-ramped to both the NASA Launch Services-2 and the U.S. Air Force’s Orbital/Suborbital Program-3 contracts, enabling the two largest U.S. government space launch customers to order Antares for “right-size and right-price” launch services for medium-class spacecraft. For more information on Antares, visit http://www.orbital.c...ntares-Cygnus/.




#27 neoadorable

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:17

Indeed a good one, and glad the launch finally went well. We now have another option.

#28 OP DocM

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 05:28

First ISS mission delayed. This AJ26 seal issue concerns me as during its tests at NASA Stennis an engine leak caused a hellatious fire.

http://www.aviationw...3-02-577058.xml

First flight of the Orbital Sciences Corp. Cygnus commercial cargo carrier to the International Space Station will slip at least a month because of a delay of three to four weeks while a surplus Soviet-era engine is replaced on its Antares launch vehicle.

With the delay, Orbital says it will be ready to launch the first complete Antares/Cygnus stack from Wallops Island, Va., in early August instead of late June or early July as originally hoped. However, a potential conflict with the arrival of another Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) could slip the first Cygnus berthing with the ISS into September, Orbital said.

“If the HTV schedule slips, Orbital expects to be ready to go in August,” the company said in a website update. “If the HTV holds its schedule, Orbital’s Demonstration Mission could be planned for September.”

The “Demonstration Mission” will mark the final milestone under Orbital’s $288 million Space Act Agreement to develop a commercial resupply route to the space station under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) seed-money effort. If it is successful, the Dulles, Va.-based company can begin delivering cargo to the station under its eight-flight, $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA.
>
Orbital flew the Antares for the first time on April 21, demonstrating that the medium-lift rocket could fly from its new state-owned pad at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Seaport on Wallops Island, and separate a simulated Cygnus vehicle.

At the time of that mission the Cygnus to be used in the upcoming Demonstration Flight already had been loaded and fueled at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, in preparation for the late June launch date. However, Orbital said it needed to replace one of the two Aerojet AJ26 kerosene-fueled engines in its first stage”to further inspect and confirm a seal is functioning properly,” according to the company website.
>



#29 IsItPluggedIn

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 23:43

Wow what a load of **** "to further inspect and confirm a seal is functioning properly". They obviously know that its not working properly otherwise they wouldn't delay the launch.

Every time I read an article from these guys, they sound like they dont know what their doing, or have a whole bunch or share holders they are tying to keep in the dark about their issues.

#30 OP DocM

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 20:49

Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo spacecraft is scheduled to fly its first mission to the ISS on September 15, 2013. It will fly on their new Antares launcher.

cygnus_wallops_400.jpg



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