Orbital Sciences Poised For 2013 ISS Cargo Deliveries

By Mark Carreau mark.carreau@gmail.com
Source: AWIN First
December 27, 2012

Hurricane Sandy came and went in late 2012, as did many of the start up issues at Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), elevating the prospects that Orbital Sciences Corp. will complete its NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Systems program milestones in the New Year and begin lucrative cargo deliveries to the International Space Station.

A successful demonstration flight of Orbital’s two stage Antares rocket from MARS including an inaugural rendezvous of its Cygnus cargo craft with the six-person orbiting science laboratory targeted for April would bring the Dulles, Va., based company’s abbreviated five-year development effort under the COTS initiative to a successful close.

It also would trigger the start of a $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) agreement awarded to Orbital by NASA in late 2008. Orbital would join SpaceX to provide the 15-nation station program with the second U.S. re-supply source envisioned by NASA for the post-space shuttle era when COTS program planning began in 2005.

“We would certainly expect, if we go in April with the demo mission, to carry out at least one CRS mission in 2013, but that is really driven by NASA’s needs and paced by NASA,” Orbital spokesman Barron Beneski says. “Orbital could certainly do two.”

Read more: Orbital Sciences Poised For 2013 ISS Deliveries — Aviation Week and Space Technology.

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