Saturday, November 28, 2015

Orbital ATK's Cygnus Encapsuled For March 2016 Launch on an Atlas V

Preparations for the first launch of a Cygnus cargo spacecraft in more than a year, and the first on an Atlas 5 rocket, have gone smoothly despite some changes in timing of loading cargo on the spacecraft, an Orbital ATK executive said.

An Atlas 5 is scheduled to launch the Cygnus craft from Cape Canaveral, Florida, Dec. 3. The launch will be the first for the Cygnus since the October 2014 failure of Orbital’s Antares rocket shortly after liftoff from Wallops Island, Virginia.

Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital purchased the Atlas 5 launch from United Launch Alliance shortly after the failure, and in August acquired a second Atlas 5 for a Cygnus mission planned for March 2016. While the Cygnus has not previously flown on the Atlas, integrating the cargo spacecraft to the rocket has gone well.

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