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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 are headquartered in Dulles, Virginia and have 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.

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 Virgina Wallops Flight Facility
Courtesy of Orbital Sciences Corporation
(Click to enlarge)

Note: Cygnus and Antartes 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 NLT approximatio
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 201421:22:40    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
NG-1017 November 201809:01:3119 November 201812:31:00    ISSCaptured and berthed by ISS robot arm
Upcoming Flights
NameLaunch Date
Cygnus NG-1117 April 2019
Cygnus NG-12October 2019
Cygnus NG-132020
Cygnus NG-142020
Cygnus NG-152021


Page last modified: 18 November 2018 13:13:07.