China Launch Surge Left U.S., Russia Behind in 2018

Long March 2F rocket in flight carrying Shenzhou-11. (Credit: CCTV)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The year 2018 was the busiest one for launches in decades. There were a total of 111 completely successful launches out of 114 attempts. It was the highest total since 1990, when 124 launches were conducted.

China set a new record for launches in 2018. The nation launched 39 times with 38 successes in a year that saw a private Chinese company fail in the country’s first ever orbital launch attempt.

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Innovative AeroCube-10 CubeSats Deployed From Cygnus

AeroCube-10 being tested in the large area solar simulator in El Segundo, Calif. (Credit: Aerospace Corporation)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Aerospace Corporation PR) — The AeroCube-10 dual CubeSat mission, packed with space experiments and technology demonstrations, was launched into orbit from the Cygnus automated cargo spacecraft after its recent departure from the International Space Station.

Possibly the most intriguing experiment aboard the Aerospace-funded spacecrafts was designed in-house at Aerospace and consists of hardware for a never-before-done mission. The hardware is a dispenser with a set of 28 atmospheric probes, releasable one at a time on command.

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Robert Bigelow Disappointed with NASA Decision on Lunar Gateway Hab Module

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and President and founder of Bigelow Aerospace, Robert T. Bigelow, announce a planned addition to the International Space Station that will use the orbiting laboratory to test expandable space habitat technology during a press conference held at Bigelow Aerospace on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 in Las Vegas. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Commentary by Robert Bigelow

We have received many inquires about what is going on with the Gateway program. As many of you have already read it appears that negotiations are already underway between NASA and Northrop Grumman for a modified “mini hab” that is going to be docked to the PPE. What we think we know is that NASA wants to use a modified version of the Cygnus cargo vehicle, which is built by Thales Alenia. The current use of the Cygnus is to haul supplies to the ISS and dispose of trash by burning up in the atmosphere.

What has also been discussed is that the Cygnus would be converted to a structure with multiple docking ports. Our understanding at this time is that this structure would internally not have life support systems that without being attached to another structure wouldn’t keep people alive. We agree that a multi-port docking node is a valuable asset.

We have also been told by NASA that there is some future possibility to expect the emergence of a domestic habitat someday. As always, that is precisely what Bigelow is interested in building. In fact, our habitat is actually a standalone space station. We think the B330 standalone space station would make an excellent low altitude lunar depot.

Someday if NASA were to give us the green light, we would be very excited to be part of the Gateway program, a future low-level lunar depot program or to even land a lunar base on the moon.

Robert T. Bigelow
President and Founder

NASA Awards Contract to Northrop Grumman for Lunar Gateway Habitat Module

Credit: NASA

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA has awarded Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (NGIS) a contract of an undisclosed amount to modify its Cygnus space station resupply vehicle to serve as the minimal habitation module (MHM) for the Lunar Gateway.

Northrop Grumman won out over four competitors that had won contracts to develop mockup habitats under the space agency’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2) program.

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NASA ‘Nose’ Importance of Humans, Robots Exploring Together

The Robotic External Leak Locator flight unit before launch. (Credit: NASA)

By Kathryn Cawdrey
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

NASA is sending humans forward to the Moon, this time to stay. Upcoming expeditions to the Moon will require making every moment of astronaut time outside the safety of the Gateway in orbit and lunar lander system on the surface count. Robotics will enable lunar crews to do more while minimizing their risk.

NASA’s Satellite Servicing Projects Division is teaming up with the International Space Station to develop the technologies for this kind of astronaut-robotic collaboration, and tomorrow is launching a Robotic External Leak Locator (RELL) aboard Cygnus on Northrop Grumman’s 11th Commercial Resupply Services mission.

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Cygnus Cargo Ship Attached to International Space Station

April 19, 2019: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are docked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter and Russia’s Progress 71 and 72 resupply ships and the Soyuz MS-11 and MS-12 crew ships. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — After its capture this morning at 5:28 a.m. EDT, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 7:31 a.m. At the time of installation, Cygnus was flying 255 miles above the Indian Ocean just south of Singapore.

Cygnus will remain at the space station until July 23, when the spacecraft will depart the station, deploy NanoRacks customer CubeSats, then have an extended mission of nine months before it will dispose of several tons of trash during a fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.

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Cygnus Carries Experiments to International Space Station

he Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A, Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Northrop Grumman’s 11th contracted cargo resupply mission for NASA to the International Space Station will deliver about 7,600 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (NASA PR) — Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station with about 7,600 pounds of science investigations and cargo after launching at 4:46 p.m. EDT Wednesday from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The spacecraft launched on an Antares 230 Rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops and is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting laboratory around 5:30 a.m. Friday, April 19. Coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival will begin at 4 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

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Northrop Grumman Launches Cygnus Resupply Mission to Space Station

The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A, Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Northrop Grumman’s 11th contracted cargo resupply mission for NASA to the International Space Station will deliver about 7,600 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Dulles, Va. – April 17, 2019  (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) successfully launched its AntaresTM rocket carrying a CygnusTM spacecraft today at 4:46 p.m. EDT from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A on Wallops Island, Virginia, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. The launch marks Northrop Grumman’s 11th cargo mission carrying supplies to the astronauts aboard the International Space Station for NASA.

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Cargo Spacecraft Adding Techshot Equipment to International Space Station

GREENVILLE, Ind., April 15, 2019 (TechShot PR) – With this week’s launch of the Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems uncrewed Cygnus cargo spacecraft on resupply mission NG-11 to the International Space Station, Techshot Inc., begins what is expected to be its most active year in space operations. The commercial space payload developer expects to launch its equipment to the station aboard every American resupply mission in 2019.

Onboard NG-11 will be 12 plant growth devices Techshot developed for NASA in partnership with Tupperware Brands. First launched to the station one year ago (see https://bit.ly/2U85OaK), PONDS, or the Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System, has been designed to help optimize the growth of plants, such as lettuce and tomatoes, while reducing the amount of time astronauts must dedicate to monitoring and watering them.

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NASA TV Coverage Set for April 17 Cygnus Launch to International Space Station

From Feb. 8, 2019 when Northrop Grumman’s “S.S. John Young” Cygnus spacecraft left the International Space Station after delivering approximately 7,400 pounds of cargo to astronauts on board. The spacecraft successfully completed its tenth cargo supply mission to the International Space Station on Feb. 25. (Credit: NASA)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (NASA PR) — NASA’s commercial partner Northrop Grumman is scheduled to launch its Antares rocket carrying its Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the international Space Station at 4:46 p.m. EDT Wednesday, April 17. The launch, as well as briefings preceding and following liftoff, will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

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Northrop Grummans Cygnus Spacecraft Successfully Concludes Mission to the International Space Station

From Feb. 8, 2019 when Northrop Grumman’s “S.S. John Young” Cygnus spacecraft left the International Space Station after delivering approximately 7,400 pounds of cargo to astronauts on board. The spacecraft successfully completed its tenth cargo supply mission to the International Space Station on Feb. 25. (Credit: NASA)

Company’s 10th cargo supply mission featured expanded commercial capabilities for Cygnus spacecraft

DULLES, Va., Feb. 25, 2019 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) announced that the company successfully completed its 10th cargo supply mission to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-1) contract.

During the mission, the “S.S. John Young” Cygnus met the needs of multiple customers throughout this flight to the International Space Station. The spacecraft removed more than 5,500 pounds (2,500 kilograms) of disposal cargo from the space station.

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NanoRacks Completes Sixth CubeSat Deployment from Cygnus Spacecraft

DULLES, Virg., February 14, 2019 (NanoRacks PR) — Last night, NanoRacks successfully completed the Company’s sixth CubeSat deployment mission from Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft. Cygnus (S.S. John Young) departed the International Space Station on February 8th, 2019 and performed a number of on-orbit activities, including yet another historic NanoRacks deployment.

Cygnus maneuvered to a higher-than-Space Station altitude (445 kilometers) where the NanoRacks External Cygnus Deployment mission released two of the three CubeSats on board into orbit, MySat-1 and the second CHEFSat satellite. The spacecraft then lowered to an altitude of 300 kilometers to deploy KickSat-2.

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NanoRacks Provides Historic Triple-Altitude Delivery for Customers in Single Space Station Launch

HOUSTON, November 19, 2018 (NanoRacks PR) — Early this morning, Cygnus, the spacecraft from the tenth contracted cargo resupply mission for Northrop Grumman (previously Orbital ATK), berthed with the International Space Station carrying yet another historic NanoRacks mission. For the first time ever, NanoRacks booked customers on three different altitudes on one commercial resupply launch.

The first delivery will be a research experiment to the astronauts on station. The experiment, “Experimental Chondrule Formation at the International Space Station,” or EXCISS, is the third and final project to launch through the joint “Überflieger” program, sponsored by DLR, the German Space Agency, and DreamUp, an XO Markets company and the leading provider of educational opportunities in space.

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Progress & Cygnus Supply Ships Arrive at Space Station

Cygnus berthed at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA & Roscomos PRs) — Traveling about 252 miles over Algeria, the unpiloted Russian Progress MS-10 cargo ship docked on Sunday at 2:28 p.m. EST to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module on the Russian segment of the International Space Station.

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Northrop Grumman Antares Launches Cygnus Resupply Ship to Station

Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket launched the company’s Cygnus spacecraft carrying about 7,400 pounds of cargo for the International Space Station on Nov. 17, 2018. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

DULLES, Va., Nov. 17, 2018 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) announced it successfully launched its AntaresTM rocket carrying the “S.S. John Young” CygnusTM spacecraft today at 4:01 a.m. EST from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A on Wallops Island, Virginia, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. The launch marks Northrop Grumman’s 10th cargo mission carrying vital supplies to the astronauts aboard the International Space Station for NASA.

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