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Orbital Pushes Back ISS Cargo Flight By 1 Week

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
May 28, 2014
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Orbital Sciences' Cygnus cargo craft moves away from the International Space Station's robotic arm shortly after its release. (Credit: NASA TV)

Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus cargo craft moves away from the International Space Station’s robotic arm shortly after its release. (Credit: NASA TV)

Mission Update – May 28, 2014
Via Orbital Sciences Corporation

Orbital has rescheduled the launch of its Antares rocket for the Orb-2 mission to a date of no earlier than (NET) June 17, 2014. Orb-2 is the second of eight cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station under Orbital’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA.

The new launch schedule has been established to allow the engineering teams from the main stage propulsion supplier Aerojet Rocketdyne and Orbital to investigate the causes of an AJ26 engine failure that occurred last week at NASA’s Stennis Space Center during customary acceptance testing. That engine was designated for use in a mission slated for 2015 and was undergoing hot fire testing that all Antares AJ26 engines are subject to in order to ensure nominal performance and acceptance for use in Antares missions.

The NET June 17 is a planning date. The determination of a new firm date will depend on progress of the investigation team, so please check back to this page for further updates.

Mission Description

Cygnus will be boosted into orbit by a two-stage Antares rocket from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. The launch sequence will last about ten minutes from liftoff through the separation of Cygnus from the Antares vehicle.

Once in orbit, Cygnus will deploy its solar arrays and undergo initial check-out. The spacecraft will then 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 approximately 40 days during which time the station crew will unload cargo from Cygnus and subsequently load it with materials for disposal. At the end of the mission Cygnus will depart the station and reenter the Earth’s atmosphere.