(via Orbital Sciences Corporation)
- Completion of cold flow testing (aka wet dress rehearsals): The Antares team has completed all but one test. The last test is expected to be completed before the end of January.
- “Hot Fire” test of Antares first stage: To be conducted at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), located at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. This is the last major ground test before the first Antares flight and is expected to be conducted in February.
- Test Flight of the Antares rocket from MARS/Wallops: The mission will carry a heavily instrumented mass simulator for data gathering, not an operational Cygnus spacecraft. The test flight is expected to be conducted in March, approximately 4 to 6 weeks after the hot fire test.
- COTS Demonstration mission to the ISS: This mission involves an Antares launch carrying a fully operational Cygnus spacecraft that will rendezvous and berth with the International Space Station (ISS) to demonstrate the full capabilities of the cargo resupply system. Orbital is working with NASA’s ISS program to identify an available time window for Cygnus to arrive at the ISS. Current candidate slots are in May and June.
- First CRS mission: Like the demonstration mission, the schedule needs to be coordinated with NASA’s ISS program and is dependent on the completion of the previous milestones. Currently scheduled for the third quarter of 2013.