Orbital is entering an exciting new era of human space flight and exploration with its involvement in two prominent NASA programs: the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS)/Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) programs and the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV).
Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS)/Commercial Resupply Services (CRS)
Under a three-year COTS cooperative agreement with NASA, Orbital is developing a new space transportation system to demonstrate the capability to deliver supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). The COTS program involves the full-scale flight demonstration of a commercial cargo delivery system employing the new Antares medium-class launch vehicle, the Cygnus advanced maneuvering spacecraft and a module to carry pressurized cargo.
Expanding on the COTS agreement, Orbital was awarded a NASA Commercial Resupply Services contract to provide cargo delivery services to the International Space Station. Under the contract, Orbital will conduct 8 cargo missions beginning in 2013 to complement Russian, European and Japanese ISS cargo vehicles.
Orion Launch Abort System
Orbital was a key member of the Lockheed Martin-led Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) team. Utilizing the company's proven small rocket technology, Orbital designed, developed and built the Launch Abort System (LAS) for the Orion vehicle, an important element in vastly improving astronaut safety.
Orbital is also supplying the Abort Test Booster (ATB) that will conduct a number of tests to verify NASA's next generation crew capsule. Tests will include low- and high-altitude trials to simulate aborts at various points in the launch vehicle trajectory. The tests will employ government-supplied rocket motors to boost the capsule to specified test altitudes, applying Orbital's expertise in the use of retired ICBM assets for reliable and low-cost launch missions.
Orbital will conduct its resupply missions to the International Space Station using its new Antares launch vehicle from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility at Wallops Island, VA
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