mid atlantic regional spaceport

Antares Rocket With Cygnus Spacecraft Launches

The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket, with the Cygnus cargo spacecraft aboard, is seen in this false color infrared image, as it launches from Pad-0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia. Cygnus is on its way to rendezvous with the space station. The spacecraft will deliver about 1,300 pounds (589 kilograms) of cargo, including food and clothing, to the Expedition 37 crew.

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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Antares Rocket Launch (NHQ201610170110) by NASA HQ PHOTO
Via Flickr:
The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016 at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Orbital ATK’s sixth contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station is delivering over 5,100 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard suffers a catastrophic anomaly moments after launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A, Oct. 28, 2014, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The Cygnus spacecraft was filled with supplies slated for the International Space Station, including science experiments, experiment hardware, spare parts, and crew provisions.

Photo Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

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Antares rising - the OA-5 mission blasts off from Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at 7:45pm EDT October 17, 2016.

This marked the rocket’s return to flight status after being grounded for more than two years. Additionally, this was the inaugural launch of the Antares 230, featuring redesigned first stage engines and an enhanced upper stage.

Around 90 minutes after launch, the Cygnus cargo freighter unfurled its two solar arrays, and is safely in orbit awaiting rendezvous with the International Space Station Sunday morning, October 23.

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Pad 0B at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, where LADEE launched from this past weekend. The Minotaur V vehicle launched about 14 hours prior to these photos being taken. The flame duct showed charring from the booster, including sand that was fused into a brittle-like material, which I have samples of. The last photo shows some of the melted material at the base of the flame duct.

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Pad 0A at the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport. This is where Orbital Sciences launches their Antares vehicles to the International Space station. The day I went (Saturday afternoon), Orbital Technicians were finalizing the vehicle support struts for next week’s Antares rollout. The last picture is the Horizontal Integration Facility, where the Cygnus resupply craft is mated to Antares, and subsequently rolled out to the pad. The vehicle is scheduled to launch on 17 September, and I’ll be about 4 miles away.

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OA-5 encapsulated ahead of rollout, Antares prepares for Return to Flight.

Orbital ATK’s S.S. Alan Poindexter Cygnus cargo freighter was encapsulated in the payload faring of its Antares 230 rocket Tuesday, October 11, at the company’s processing facility at Wallops Island, Virginia.

Rollout from the Horizontal Integration Facility to Pad 0A is expected for Thursday afternoon ahead of Sunday evening’s launch attempt.

OA-5 marks the return to flight for Orbital’s Antares rocket following a catastrophic launch failure in 2014 that destroyed the Orb-3 mission. That failure was traced to defects in the rocket’s original AJ-60 engines, which Orbital replaced with the RD-181 engine for all future Antares variants.

Antares launches from the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia. The company’s Cygnus spacecraft flew its first three missions from Wallops before the Orb-3 mishap. Two flights were lofted on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Florida while the Virginia facilities were undergoing repairs and the rocket was being redesigned.

Orbital tested the new RD-181 engines earlier this summer ahead of the return to flight mission, which was initially scheduled for May. Delays in vehicle and spacecraft readiness pushed the flight into early October, which was then delayed by Hurricane Nicole.

Liftoff is scheduled for 8:03 pm EDT, and should be visible from the large population center’s on the Eastern seaboard.

P/c: Orbital ATK.