An upgraded configuration and new PCMs are in store for the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft.
These elements include a lighter and more efficient solution for storing and constraining cargo inside the module. This equates to an increase in the available mass and volume of cargo to be transported to the ISS.
How is this going to occur? Thales Alenia Space, which is a joint venture between Thales (67 percent) and Leonardo-Finmeccanica (33 percent), signed a new contract wherein they will supply nine additional Pressurized Cargo Modules (PCM) to Orbital ATK (NYSE:OA) for upcoming cargo resupply missions. These new PCMs will also accommodate an increased number of middek lockers as compared to the exiting module design.
Cygnus recently delivered 7,900 pounds of cargo and science experiments to astronauts aboard the station and successfully completed its fifth mission under the contract. Orbital ATK is scheduled to complete 10 CRS-1 missions to the International Space Station before transitioning to launch cargo logistics missions under the CRS-2 contract in 2019.
The Cygnus spacecraft consists of two basic components: the Service Module (SM) built by Orbital ATK and the Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM) developed by Thales Alenia Space. Building on 40 years of experience in space infrastructures and transportation systems, the Cygnus PCM developed by Thales Alenia Space calls on the company’s skills and expertise developed through previous programs for the International Space Station, such as the MPLM (Multipurpose Logistics Module), built by the company on behalf of the Italian space agency for NASA, and the ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) Cargo Carrier, built by Thales Alenia Space for the European Space Agency.