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Orbital Sciences Corporation


Orbital Sciences was contracted under COTS in 2008.

Founded in 1982, Orbital is a world leader in space and launch systems. They were headquartered in Dulles, Virginia and had operations in Arizona, California, Maryland, and Virginia. Selected in 2006 for NASA's COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services), Orbital is under contract to provide eight resupply missions to the ISS between 2012 and 2015.

On 9 February 2015, Orbital Sciences Corporation merged with Alliance Techsystems to form Orbital ATK. Orbital ATK was then purchased by Northrop Grumman and on 6 June 2018 became Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.

Being developed for this service is an advanced maneuvering space vehicle called Cygnus™. The Cygnus is composed of a service module incorporating avionics, propulsion and power systems proven in Orbital's existing satellite products, and a pressurized cargo module based upon the previous Multi-Purpose Logistics Module originally developed by Thales Alenia Space for NASA. The first launch took place on 18 September 2013.

Cygnus concept drawing
An artists rendering of the Cygnus spacecraft
Courtesy of Orbital Sciences Corporation
(Click to enlarge)

A related but separate development is the Antares™ launch vehicle. Antares is a two stage vehicle, expandable to three stages, capable of launching multiple payloads to low earth orbit. Initially, launches will take place from the Wallops Flight Facility, but Antares will also be qualified to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base (California) or Cape Canaveral (Florida).

Antares at Wallops Island
Antares at the Virginia Wallops Flight Facility
Courtesy of Orbital Sciences Corporation
(Click to enlarge)

Note: Cygnus and Antares are registered trademarks of Orbital Sciences Corporation.

CraftLaunch DateLaunch TimeInitial Dock DateInital Dock TimeFinal Undock DateFinal Undock TimeReentry DateReentry TimeStationNotes
Cygnus 118 September 201314:58:0029 September 201312:44:0022 October 201310:16:0023 October 201318:15:00ISSDemo flight Captured and berthed by ISS robot arm. (Undock time approximation)
Orb-19 January 201418:07:0012 January 201413:05:0018 February 201410:15:0019 February 201418:20:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
Orb-213 July 201416:52:0016 July 201412:53:0015 August 201409:14:0017 August 201413:11:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
Orb-328 October 201421:22:4030 November -0001 30 November -0001 28 October 201421:22:55ISSVehicle exploded about 15 seconds after liftoff
OA-46 December 201521:44:479 December 201514:26:0019 February 201610:38:0020 February 201616:00:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
OA-622 March 201603:05:2026 March 201614:52:0014 June 201611:43:0022 June 201613:05:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
OA-517 October 201623:45:3623 October 201614:53:0021 November 201613:22:0027 November 201623:40:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm; Undock time actually release time
OA-718 April 201715:11:2722 April 201712:39:004 June 201711:05:0011 June 201717:08:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
OA-812 November 201712:19:5114 November 201712:15:005 December 201717:52:0018 December 201712:54:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
OA-918 May 201808:44:0624 May 201812:13:0015 July 201810:20:0030 July 201809:17:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
Cygnus NG-1017 November 201809:01:3119 November 201812:31:008 February 201914:37:0025 February 201909:05:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
Cygnus NG-1117 April 201920:46:0019 April 201911:31:006 August 201913:30:006 December 201915:28:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
Cygnus NG-122 November 201913:59:474 November 201911:21:0031 January 202013:10:0017 March 202023:00:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
Cygnus NG-1315 February 202020:21:0118 February 202011:16:0011 May 202013:00:0029 May 202019:30:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
Cygnus NG-143 October 202001:16:145 October 202012:01:006 January 202112:15:0026 January 202120:23:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
Cygnus NG-1520 February 202117:36:5022 February 202112:16:0029 June 202113:20:0021 July 202101:30:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
Cygnus NG-1610 August 202122:01:0512 August 202113:42:0020 November 202113:00:0015 December 202106:25:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
Cygnus NG-1714 February 202217:40:0321 February 202212:02:0028 June 202207:00:0029 June 202206:55:00ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
Cygnus NG-187 November 202210:32:429 November 202213:05:0030 November -0001   ISS'Captured and berthed by ISS robot arm'
Upcoming Flights
NameLaunch Date
Cygnus NG-18August 2022
Cygnus NG-19April 2023


Page last modified: 10 April 2022 13:31:02.