Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport News
U.S. Air Force Successfully Launches The ORS-3 Mission to Orbit from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia - November 19, 2013
Governor Bob McDonnell tonight congratulated the Department of Defense and Orbital Sciences Corporation on launch of the ORS-3 Mission from Virginia's spaceport, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), at Wallops Island, Virginia. The launch took place at 8:15 p.m. on November 19, 2013, from MARS Pad 0B.
Speaking about the launch, Governor McDonnell said, "Virginia is honored to have played a role in another successful launch. I commend the Department of Defense and the Orbital Sciences Corporation for their efforts. The Commonwealth stands ready to continue its support of future missions."
The Virginia Secretary of Transportation, Sean Connaughton, said, "Virginia continues to strongly support the aerospace industry and is proud to have played a key role in launching this important mission for the Nation."
Dale Nash is the Executive Director of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, or 'Virginia Space,' which owns and operates MARS. After launch, from the Range Control Center on Wallops, Dale commented, "Virginia Space is proud to be part of the ORS-3 team. This was the 6th Minotaur launched from MARS, and the 2nd Minotaur that we've launched in just over two months. I am pleased with the exceptional performance of the MARS personnel and facilities."
29 total satellites were launched in the mission (the most ever aboard a single U.S. rocket). The primary payload for the ORS-3 Mission is the U.S. Air Force STPSat-3 satellite. In addition, the rocket deployed 28 cubesats. Among them is TJ3Sat, the first satellite built by high school students.
Additionally, at their other pad, Virginia Space has a manifest to launch eight cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) onboard the new Antares launch vehicle built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, a Virginia corporation. Antares launches from the new MARS Pad 0A, which has already launched two Antares missions earlier this year. The next Antares to launch from Virginia's spaceport to the space station is scheduled for December 2013.
Virginia plays a key role in National Security, as one of only four states in the United States that is licensed by the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation to launch to orbit. Virginia will continue to strongly support the aerospace industry throughout the Commonwealth.
Orbital Successfully Launches Cygnus Spacecraft Aboard Antares Rocket on COTS Demonstration Mission to the International Space Station - September 20, 2013
(Dulles, VA 18 September 2013) – Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced that it successfully launched its Antares rocket carrying the company’s Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft into its intended orbit. The successful launch marked the beginning of a four-day in-orbit capabilities demonstration mission that will culminate in rendezvous and berthing with the International Space Station (ISS) on September 22. Cygnus will deliver approximately 1,500 lbs. of cargo and remain attached to the ISS for 30 days before departing with up to 1,750 lbs. of disposal cargo.
Lift-off of Orbital’s Antares rocket occurred at approximately 10:58 a.m. EDT from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) located at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia. Following a 10-minute ascent, the Cygnus spacecraft was successfully deployed by the Antares upper stage and placed into its intended orbit of about 180 x 160 miles above the Earth, inclined at 51.6 degrees to the equator. Approximately 20 minutes later, Orbital’s Cygnus engineers confirmed that reliable communications had been established and that the solar arrays were fully deployed, providing the necessary electrical power to command the spacecraft.
“We are very pleased with the early operations of the COTS demonstration mission, beginning with another on-the-mark launch by Antares. The Cygnus spacecraft appears to be fully healthy and operating as expected during this early phase of its mission,” said Mr. David W. Thompson, Orbital’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Over the next few days, our Cygnus team, together with our NASA partners, will conduct an extensive series of in-orbit tests to verify the performance of the spacecraft before attempting the rendezvous and berthing operations with the space station. There is clearly still a lot of work in front of us, but the mission looks like it is off to a great start.”
This demonstration flight is the final milestone in Orbital’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) joint research and development initiative with NASA. Under COTS, NASA and Orbital developed Cygnus, which meets the stringent human-rated safety requirements for ISS operations. Orbital privately developed the Antares launch vehicle to provide low-cost, reliable access to space for medium-class payloads. Together, these elements are being used for the demonstration flight of Orbital’s commercial resupply capability to the ISS.
Pending the successful completion of the COTS program, Orbital will begin regularly scheduled cargo delivery missions to the ISS under the $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. Under the CRS contract, Orbital will deliver approximately 20,000 kilograms of cargo to the ISS over eight missions through 2016. For these missions, NASA will manifest a variety of essential items based on ISS program needs, including food, clothing, crew supplies, spare parts and equipment, and scientific experiments.
The Antares medium-class launch vehicle will provide a major increase in the payload launch capability that Orbital can provide to NASA, the U.S. Air Force and commercial customers. The Antares rocket will 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.com/SpaceLaunch/Antares/.
Orbital developed the Cygnus cargo spacecraft as part of its COTS joint research and development initiative with NASA. Beginning later this year, Orbital will conduct eight operational Cygnus missions to deliver approximately 20,000 kilograms of cargo to the ISS, including crew supplies and consumables, spare parts and equipment, and scientific experiments. Cygnus consists of a common Service Module (SM) and a Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM). The SM incorporates avionics, power and propulsion systems already successfully flown aboard dozens of Orbital’s LEOStar™ and GEOStar™ satellite products. The PCM, designed and built by Thales Alenia Space under a subcontract from Orbital, is based on the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) used with the Space Shuttle. For more information on Cygnus, visit http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/Cygnus_fact.pdf
Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers. The company’s primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary exploration spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense missions; human-rated space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar and other missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also provides satellite subsystems and space-related technical services to U.S. Government agencies and laboratories. More information about Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com. Follow the company on Twitter @OrbitalSciences.
Orbital Successfully Launches the Antares Space Launch Vehicle from Virginia to the International Space Station - September 18, 2013
Orbital Successfully Launches the Antares Space Launch Vehicle from Virginia to the International Space Station
RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell today congratulated Orbital Sciences Corporation for the launch of their Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft on its maiden voyage to the International Space Station. The launch occurred at the new Virginia Space launch facility at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) on Wallops Island, Virginia.
The launch took place on September 18, 2013, from MARS Pad 0A, which was designed and built to accommodate medium-class liquid-fuel space launch vehicles. The goal of the ORB-D1 COTS Demo mission is to demonstrate the operational Antares launch system to deliver the Cygnus space vehicle to the International Space Station with cargo.
Speaking about the launch, Governor McDonnell remarked, "In just over a week, Virginia has witnessed two historic launches from the Mid-Altantic Regional Spaceport. The first was the LADEE mission to the moon. Today, Orbital Sciences Corporation launched their Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station. These historic launches are sure to put Virginia on the map as a leader in space exploration. We are well on our way to making Wallops Island the top commercial spaceport in the country. I congratulate everyone who helped to make today's launch successful."
Virginia Secretary of Transportation, Sean Connaughton, said, "This has been a long time coming, with the full support of Governor McDonnell and multiple Virginia Governors before him. Space is a key part of the transportation infrastructure. Virginia Transportation is not just roads, rails and ports - we are space too."
Dale Nash, Executive Director of VCSFA, commented from the Wallops Range Control Center, "The ORB-D1 COTS Demo Mission confirms full operational capability of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's (MARS) Pad-0A. This is the second Antares launch with eight more currently on the manifest, and it follows the successful NASA LADEE mission launched on an Orbital Minotaur V rocket off MARS Pad-0B by less than two-weeks. In addition to LADEE and the COTS Demo, two more missions are scheduled to be launched out of MARS before the end of the year. It has become a very good partnership between NASA, MARS and Orbital and one that benefits the Nation and Virginia."
Orbital, a northern Virginia corporation, is next scheduled to conduct a Demonstration Mission of cargo delivery to the International Space Station (ISS). The Demonstration Mission is the final operational milestone under the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) agreement. Following the successful completion of the COTS research and development program, Orbital is slated to deliver up to 20,000 kgs (44,000 lbs) of supplies to the ISS under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. The Demonstration Mission and CRS flights will continue to launch from MARS Pad 0A, located on NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia, which is ideally suited for ISS missions, and can also accommodate launches to other orbits of interest.
Virginia plays a key role in national security and assured access to space as one of only four states in the United States that is licensed by the FAA to launch spacecraft into orbit. Virginia stands ready to continue supporting Orbital in launching Antares on cargo resupply missions to the ISS as well as any other future missions.
NASA Partner Orbital Sciences Launches Demonstration Mission to Space Station - September 18, 2013
NASA commercial space partner Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Va., successfully launched its Cygnus cargo spacecraft aboard its Antares rocket at 10:58 a.m. EDT Wednesday from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
This is the first time a spacecraft launched from Virginia is blazing a trail toward the International Space Station, heralding a new U.S. capability to resupply the orbiting laboratory.
Traveling 17,500 mph in Earth's orbit, Cygnus is on its way to rendezvous with the space station Sunday, Sept. 22. The spacecraft will deliver about 1,300 pounds (589 kilograms) of cargo, including food and clothing, to the Expedition 37 crew, who will grapple and attach the capsule using the station's robotic arm.
"Today marks a milestone in our new era of exploration as we expand the capability for making cargo launches to the International Space Station from American shores," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "Orbital's extraordinary efforts are helping us fulfill the promise of American innovation to maintain our nation's leadership in space."
Orbital is building and testing its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Program. The successful completion of the COTS demonstration mission will pave the way for Orbital to conduct eight planned cargo resupply flights to the space station through NASA’s $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract with the company.
Future Cygnus flights will significantly increase NASA's ability to deliver new science investigations to the only laboratory in microgravity. As one of two U.S. carriers capable of providing cargo resupply missions to the space station, a successful demonstration mission will ensure a robust national capability to deliver critical science payloads to orbit. NASA's other cargo resupply provider, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), began flying regular cargo missions to the space station in 2012, following its own COTS demonstration mission.
"Today’s launch is the culmination of more than five years’ work between the NASA and Orbital teams," said Alan Lindenmoyer, NASA’s program manager for commercial crew and cargo. "Everyone involved should be extremely proud, and we are looking forward to a successful series of checkouts between now and when Cygnus reaches the space station this weekend."
Over the next several days, Cygnus will perform a series of maneuvers to test and prove its systems, ensuring it can safely enter the so-called "keep-out sphere" of the space station, a 656-foot (200-meter) radius surrounding the complex.
NASA Television coverage for grapple and berthing operations will begin at 4:30 a.m. Sept. 22 and continue through the capture and installation of the Cygnus spacecraft. Capture is scheduled for about 7:25 a.m. with installation of the spacecraft beginning around 9 a.m.
A joint news conference will take place at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and at Orbital's Headquarters at 45101 Warp Drive, in Dulles, Va., at about 1 p.m. EDT, after Cygnus operations are complete. The briefing will be carried live on NASA TV and the agency's website. Media may participate by telephone by calling the Johnson newsroom at 218-483-5111 no later than 15 minutes prior to the start of the briefing. Media interested in attending the briefing in Houston should contact Johnson's newsroom no later than 5 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 20. Media with U.S. citizenship who want to attend the briefing at Orbital should contact Barron Beneski at 703-406-5528 or firstname.lastname@example.org by noon Friday, Sept. 20. The registration deadline for non-U.S. citizens has passed.
NASA initiatives such as COTS are helping to develop a robust U.S. commercial space transportation industry with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program also is working with commercial space partners to develop capabilities to launch U.S. astronauts from American soil in the next few years.
The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that demonstrates new technologies and makes research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. The space station has had continuous human occupation since November 2000. In that time it has been visited by more than 200 people and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft. The space station remains the springboard to NASA's next great leap in exploration, including future missions to an asteroid and Mars.
For more information about the Orbital demonstration mission, visit:
For more information about the International Space Station, visit:
NASA Successfully Launches the LADEE Mission to the Moon from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia - September 09, 2013
Governor McDonnell Announces New Partnership with Alaska to Strengthen Virginia’s Space Industry - August 29, 2013
LADEE Arrives at Wallops for Moon Mission - June 04, 2013
Orbital Successfully Launches First Antares Rocket - April 21, 2013
NASA PARTNER ORBITAL SCIENCES TEST LAUNCHES ANTARES ROCKET - April 21, 2013
Orbital Sciences Successfully Completes First Launch of New Antares Launch Vehicle - April 21, 2013
Antares A-ONE Update - April 18, 2013
MARS Pad 0A Path to Antares A-ONE Mission - April 16, 2013
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Media Tour of Pad 0A - Handout - April 16, 2013
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MARS Pad 0A - Antares A-ONE Mission Updates - April 16, 2013
Orbital Successfully Conducts First Stage "Hot Fire" Test of Antares Space Launch Vehicle - February 22, 2013
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NASA PARTNER ORBITAL TESTS ROCKET, NEWEST U.S. LAUNCH PAD - February 22, 2013
Headquarters, Washington Feb. 22, 2012
Johnson Space Center, Houston
Jeremy L. Eggers
Wallops Flight Facility, Va.
NASA PARTNER ORBITAL TESTS ROCKET, NEWEST U.S. LAUNCH PAD
WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. -- NASA commercial partner Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Va., successfully conducted an engine test of its Antares rocket Friday at the nation's newest launch pad.
The company fired dual AJ26 rocket engines for the full duration 29 seconds while the rocket was bolted down on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. Known as a "hot fire" test, it demonstrated the readiness of the rocket's first stage and launch pad fueling systems to support upcoming test flights.
"This pad test is an important reminder of how strong and diverse the commercial space industry is in our nation," said Phil McAlister, director of Commercial Spaceflight Development at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "A little more than one year after the retirement of the space shuttle, we had a U.S company resupplying the International Space Station. Now, another is taking the next critical steps to launch from America's newest gateway to low-Earth Orbit. Today marks significant progress for Orbital, MARS and the NASA team."
Orbital is building and testing its new rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. A demonstration flight of Antares and Cygnus to the space station is planned for later this year. After the successful completion of the COTS demonstration mission to the station, Orbital will begin conducting eight planned cargo resupply flights to the orbiting laboratory through NASA's $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract with the company.
Wallops, which has launched more than 16,000 rockets in its 67-year history, provided launch range support for the hot-fire test, including communications, data collection, range safety and area clearance.
NASA initiatives like COTS are helping to develop a robust U.S. commercial space transportation industry with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit. NASA's Commercial Crew Program also is working with commercial space partners to develop capabilities to launch U.S. astronauts from American soil in the next few years.
For more information about the upcoming Orbital test flights, and links to NASA's COTS and Commercial Crew programs, visit:
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Orbital Successfully Conducts First State “Hot Fire” Test of Antares Space Launch Vehicle - February 22, 2013
Office of Governor Bob McDonnell
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2012
Office of the Governor
Contact: Jeff Caldwell
Phone: (804) 225-4260
Orbital Successfully Conducts First State “Hot Fire” Test of Antares Space Launch Vehicle
RICHMOND - Governor McDonnell heartily congratulates Orbital Sciences Corporation on a successful Hot Fire test of their new Antares space launch vehicle from the new launch pad at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) on Wallops Island, VA. The 29-second hot fire test took place this evening at MARS Pad 0A, which was designed and built over the last several years to accommodate liquid-fuel space launch vehicles.
“Tonight we witnessed a major step forward in advancing commercial space flight at Wallops Island” said Governor McDonnell. “Virginia stands proud in having played such a significant role in this historic event and I commend Orbital Sciences Corporation, the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA) and MARS for making this event happen. We serve a key role in national security as one of only four states in the United States that is licensed by the FAA to launch to orbit. The Commonwealth is ready to continue supporting Orbital in launching Antares on cargo resupply missions to the ISS as well as any other future missions.”
Orbital, a northern Virginia based corporation, is scheduled to conduct two launches under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Space Act Agreement with NASA in 2013. In addition, the company will launch eight operational cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station (ISS), using Antares vehicles from late 2013 through 2016 under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. The COTS and CRS flights will continue to launch from MARS Pad 0A, located on NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia, which is ideally suited for ISS missions, and can also accommodate launches to other orbits of interest.