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10/12/2017 - Orbital ATK Ships Final Hardware for November Cygnus Mission - Click here to print this information

According to an article in the October 11 edition of Spaceflight Now, Orbital ATK shipped the final major piece of hardware for the next Cygnus space station resupply mission to a launch base on Virginias Eastern Shore last week as technicians began loading cargo destined for delivery to the orbiting research lab next month.

Liftoff is scheduled for Nov. 10 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, a launch complex located at NASAs Wallops Flight Facility near Chincoteague, Virginia.

The Cygnus spacecrafts service module, which contains the ships propulsion and power systems, arrived Oct. 4 at Wallops after a truck ride from Orbital ATKs headquarters and manufacturing plant in Dulles, Virginia.

The service module completed testing earlier this year to verify it can withstand the extreme environments of launch and spaceflight, and crews at Wallops will mate it with the Cygnus spacecrafts pressurized cargo module in the coming weeks. The cargo section, built by Thales Alenia Space in Turin, Italy, and ships Antares rocket were already at Wallops undergoing final checks.

Ground teams were preparing for a launch during the summer, but managers delayed the mission at the request of NASA, which juggles arrivals and departures of visiting vehicles at the space station. NASA wanted more time to ensure the cargo slated to fly inside the Cygnus supply ship was ready, and to give astronauts time to conduct three spacewalks this month and repair the space stations robotic arm, which is used to snag the spacecraft on final approach to the orbiting outpost.

An Orbital ATK spokesperson said specialists have started packing cargo into the barrel-shaped logistics module, which is based on Thaless experience building cargo carriers that flew on NASAs space shuttles and on the European Space Agencys Automated Transfer Vehicle.

The service module will be filled with hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide maneuvering propellant later this month, then delivered from a clean room on the mainland to Orbital ATKs Horizontal Integration Facility on Wallops Island for attachment to an Antares booster.


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