Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS)/
Commercial Resupply Service (CRS)
Orbital and NASA are expanding their collaboration to jointly develop a new space transportation system. With the award of the Commercial Resupply Service Contract, NASA has taken the next step to ensure a robust logistic capability for the International Space Station (ISS).
Orbital and NASA have jointly developed a new space transportation system in the COTS cooperative program to demonstrate the capability to provide logistics to the International Space Station (ISS). The COTS program involved full-scale development and flight demonstration of a commercial cargo delivery system. The COTS demonstration mission was successfully conducted in September 2013. The COTS system consists of:
Antares™, a new medium-class launch vehicle developed by Orbital
Cygnus, an advanced maneuvering spacecraft, and
Pressurized modules to transport cargo to ISS.
Under the Commercial Resupply Service (CRS) program, Orbital will provide 8 pressurized cargo missions to the ISS beginning in late 2013. For NASA, CRS will provide a U.S.-produced and-operated automated cargo delivery service for ISS logistics support, to complement Russian, European and Japanese ISS cargo vehicles. For CRS, Orbital will utilize its Antares, Cygnus, and a Pressurized Cargo Module developed by Orbital's industrial partner Thales Alenia Space.
The design, manufacture and test of Antares occurs at Orbital locations in Dulles, VA and Chandler, AZ; development. Production and integration of Cygnus spacecraft and cargo modules is performed in Dulles ,VA and the Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore. COTS/CRS launches will occur at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility with integrated mission operations conducted from control centers in Dulles and Houston.
The Antares launch vehicle has a payload capacity of 5,000 kg to low-Earth orbit. The Cygnus spacecraft is capable of delivering 2,000 kg of pressurized cargo to the ISS. An enhanced version of Cygnus to be flown in later CRS missions is able to deliver 2,700 kg of pressurized cargo.