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Spacecraft, Launch Vehicles & Satellites
 
CYGNUS TO CONTINUE TO CARRY SUPPLIES AFTER ANTARES LAUNCH FAILURE
Thursday, March 5, 2015

Source: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NEWTOWN, Conn. - The Cygnus cargo transfer vehicle is an important component in NASA's effort to supply the International Space Station. Even after the Antares launch failure in October 2014, the Cygnus will continue to carry supplies to crewmembers aboard the space station. Orbital Sciences will use a Lockheed Martin-built Atlas V to carry at least one Cygnus spacecraft. The company will also upgrade the Antares with a new, more reliable, engine that will ensure flights going forward.

Orbital Sciences' Cygnus program has suffered from delays. The spacecraft was originally scheduled to launch in 2010. That was pushed back to 2011, 2012, and then 2013. The Cygnus finally lifted off in September 2013. The first operational flight was expected to take place in December 2013; however, due to technical problems on board the space station itself, the flight did not occur until January 9, 2014.

Operational flights of the Antares are expected to take restart in 2016. Until then, the Cygnus will be carried on an Atlas V. Because the Atlas V can carry more weight into orbit, only one flight in 2015 is required to meet Orbital Sciences' contractual obligations to NASA. Orbital Sciences also has an option for a 2016 flight if needed. Flights of the Cygnus will continue to at least 2017.

NASA has opened a requirement for a second round of CRS flights. Other companies, such as Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corp., are bidding against incumbents Orbital Sciences and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). While one of these companies could replace Orbital Sciences in the CRS program, Forecast International Expects the Cygnus to remain NASA's primary choice for the lifespan of the ISS.

Source:  Forecast International
Associated URL: www.forecastinternational.com
Source Date: March 5, 2015
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 03/05/2015

 

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