Orbital's COTS operational system consists of an International Space Station (ISS) visiting vehicle, a new privately-developed medium-class launch vehicle, and all necessary mission planning and operations facilities and services.
Orbital is developing and qualifying a new launch vehicle (called Antares) to enable lower-cost COTS launches as well as future NASA science and exploration, commercial and national security space missions. Antares will leverage Orbital's industry-leading experience in developing, building and operating small launch vehicles.
The image to the right is an artist's rendering of Orbital's Antares space launch vehicle shown on the launch pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore preparing to launch the company's CygnusTM cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station on a cargo mission for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Service (COTS) program.
Please click any of these links to learn more about Antares.
Antares Fact Sheet
Cygnus Fact Sheet
Antares Home Page
Animation of ISS Cargo Delivery mission
Orbital's COTS Visiting Vehicle (CVV), called Cygnus, is made up of a common Service Module (SM) with interchangeable pressurized and unpressurized cargo modules. It is designed to provide the cargo with electrical power and heat dissipation for the duration of the mission. The CVV is compatible with Orbital's Antares launch vehicle as well as other launchers such as the Delta IV and Atlas V EELVs. The CVV design is based on service module that interfaces with a cargo module.
The cargo module is a Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM) similar to the flight-proven ISS Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) developed and built by Orbital's partner Thales-Alenia Space. Smaller and lighter than the MPLM, the PCM uses a Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) as the pressurized cargo transfer interface to the ISS. The SM is integrated and tested in Orbital's Dulles, Virginia Satellite Manufacturing Facility (SMF), then shipped to Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) where Orbital personnel integrate it with the loaded cargo module and then integrate the combined Cygnus vehicle to the Antares launch vehicle.
Orbital's CygnusTM cargo spacecraft is shown approaching the International Space Station in this artist's rendering of the in-orbit operations of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Service (COTS) program in the image to the right.
Please click here to learn more about Orbital.
|Milestone #||Description||Planned Date||Approved|
|1||Program Plan Review||Mar 08||Completed|
|2||Demo Mission SRR||Jun 08||Completed|
|3||Unpressurized Cargo Module PDR||Jul 08||Completed|
|5||COTS Integration/Operations Facility Review||Sep 08||Completed|
|6||Pressurized Cargo Module PDR||Oct 08||Completed|
|8||IP&CL Delivery||Feb 09||Completed|
|9||Complete Phase 1 SRP||Mar 09||Completed|
|10||COTS System PDR||Apr 09||Completed|
|11||Pressurized Cargo Module CDR||Jul 09||Completed|
|12||Cygnus Avionics Test||Aug 09||Completed|
|13||Complete Phase 2 SRP||Aug 09||Completed|
|14||COTS System CDR||Sep 09||Completed|
|15||Service Module Core Assembly Complete||Dec 09||Completed|
|16||Service Module TRR||Apr 10||Completed|
|17||Service Module Initial Performance Test Complete||Jul 10||Completed|
|18||Launch Vehicle Stage 1 Assembly Complete||Oct 10|
|19||Cargo Integration Demonstration||Dec 10||Completed|
|20||Mission Readiness Review||Feb 11|
|21||Demo Flight||Mar 11|
|22||Mission Concept Review||Dec 10||Completed|
|23||Antares Maiden Flight PMA||Feb 11||Completed|
|24||DR Cygnus Mass Simulator||Mar 11||Completed|
|25||Install Additional PITL Simulators||Apr 11||Completed|
|26||PROX FEU Test Unit||May 11||Completed|
|27||Antares Maiden Flight Sage 1 Core Delivery||Apr 11||Completed|
|28||Antares Maiden Flight Upper Stage Delivery||Jun 11||Completed|
|29||Antares Maiden Flight CMS Delivery||Jun 11||Completed|
|30||Antares Maiden Flight Stage 1 Assembly||Jul 11||Completed|
|31||Antares Maiden Flight||Oct 11|