[Satnews] Whew, success at last.
Statement from ULA
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, (December 6, 2015) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the OA-4 Cygnus resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 December 6 at 4:44 p.m. EST.
The mission, flown for Orbital ATK under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract, marks the first time the Cygnus has flown on an Atlas V rocket. This was ULA’s 12th launch in 2015. At just over 8 tons, Cygnus is the heaviest payload to launch atop an Atlas V rocket.
“Congratulations to the team on today’s successful launch! Partnering with Orbital ATK to launch the Cygnus resupply vehicle to the ISS for NASA, a first for ULA, marks a great achievement for the team, and has provided a critical service to the nation and to the crew on the ISS,” said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. “This mission is delivering more than 7,000 pounds of cargo including supplies for the crew and critical materials supporting science and research investigations.”
Cygnus is a low-risk design incorporating elements drawn from Orbital ATK and its partners’ existing, flight-proven spacecraft technologies. Cygnus consists of a common Service Module (SM) and a Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM). The SM is assembled and tested at Orbital ATK’s Dulles, Virginia, satellite manufacturing facility and incorporates systems from Orbital ATK’s flight-proven LEOStar™ and GEOStar™ satellite product lines. The PCM is based on the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), developed and built by Thales Alenia Space of Italy.
"In the 12 months since this launch was ordered, the ULA and Orbital ATK teams worked very closely together to integrate the Cygnus with the Atlas launch system, including development of a new structural adapter and also a mission design that includes a 30-minute launch window for this ISS rendezvous mission, ” said Sponnick.
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V 401 configuration vehicle, which includes a 4-meter diameter payload fairing. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engine.
ULA's next launch is the GPS IIF-12 satellite for the U.S. Air Force, scheduled for Feb. 3, 2016, from Space Launch Complex-41 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 100 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.
End ULA statement
ULA Atlas V 401 rocket will launch the Cygnus™ spacecraft on the initial leg of its cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Liftoff will occur from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Orbital ATK developed the Cygnus advanced maneuvering spacecraft to perform ISS cargo delivery missions under the Commercial Resupply Service (CRS) contract with NASA. Orbital ATK is under contract to deliver 28,600 kg of cargo over the life of the CRS-1 contract. The OA-4 Cygnus spacecraft will carry 3,513 kg of that cargo.
The OA-4 mission represents ULA’s first ISS Cargo Resupply mission. ULA recognizes the criticality of this mission in providing much-needed replenishment of supplies to the ISS crew, scientific equipment to further the ISS mission of discovery and logistical hardware to help maintain a healthy ISS.
The ULA team is focused on attaining Perfect Product Delivery for the OA-4 mission, which includes a relentless focus on mission success (the perfect product) and also excellence and continuous improvement in meeting all of the needs of our customers (the perfect delivery).
Cygnus is a low-risk design incorporating elements drawn from Orbital ATK and its partners’ existing, flight-proven spacecraft technologies.
Cygnus consists of a common Service Module (SM) and a Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM). The SM is assembled and tested at Orbital ATK’s Dulles, Virginia, satellite manufacturing facility and incorporates systems from Orbital ATK’s flight-proven LEOStar™ and GEOStar™ satellite product lines. The PCM is based on the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), developed and built by Thales Alenia Space of Italy.
The Cygnus spacecraft for the OA-4 mission is the first to employ the longer, “enhanced”, PCM which can carry a greater volume of cargo than the PCM flown on previous missions, and lightweight UltraFlex arrays developed and built by Orbital ATK’s Goleta, California, facility.