Antares, Cygnus Prepped for Dec. 18 Cargo Run to ISS

Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation
Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation

ISS Commercial Resupply Mission 1 (ORB-1)
Status Update
Via Orbital Sciences Corporation

December 10, 2013

Preparations for next week’s launch continue at the Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) on Wallops Island, Virginia. Yesterday, Antares was lifted onto the Transporter/Erector/Launcher (TEL). The TEL acts as a support structure as Antares is transported on the approximately 1 mile route from the HIF to Pad 0A. At the pad, hydraulic erection actuators rotate the TEL and the rocket to a vertical position, where the TEL functions as Antares’ umbilical support structure.Click on Images & Videos for more.

Later today the Cygnus cargo spacecraft will be mated to the rocket. The majority of the cargo for the International Space Station is already loaded onto Cygnus. This week additional “late load” cargo will be installed in Cygnus, the hatch will be closed, and the cargo module will be pressurized prior to encapsulation in the 9.9 meter Antares payload fairing. Roll-out of Antares to the launch pad is currently scheduled for December 16.

Monday, December 9

The Antares team continued making progress over the weekend toward the launch of Orbital’s first CRS resupply mission next week, however ongoing pre-launch testing took a bit longer than expected which resulted in shifting the targeted launch date by one day to December 18. In the next several days, the Antares rocket will be installed on the transporter/erector/launcher vehicle and the Cygnus spacecraft will be mated with the upper stage of the rocket. The launch window on December 18 is from 9:42 to 9:47 p.m.(EST). Additional updates will be posted in the days ahead.

Friday, December 6

Our Antares and Cygnus teams are in the advanced stages of preparation for the company’s first operational resupply mission to the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract. The launch to the Station originating from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility is currently scheduled for Tuesday, December 17, at approximately 10:04 p.m.

Over the next 11 days, major operational events are scheduled to take place, beginning this weekend with the movement of the Antares rocket to the transporter/erector/launcher (TEL) and the mating of the Cygnus spacecraft with the Antares rocket that will carry it to orbit. Following the mating process, a series of tests to ensure all systems are properly working together will ensue, as will late- and final-loading of cargo, the encapsulation of Cygnus by the rocket’s payload fairing, and finally, the roll-out and initial on-pad operations that are currently scheduled for December 15.

As these operational events are completed we will issue updates on this mission information page and via our Twitter and Facebook accounts.