Orbital ATK has delivered an OA-4 cargo mission to the ISS. This was done solely for the sake of NASA.
Orbital ATK is a world famous innovator in spacecraft and war technology. Its fourth delivery mission of cargo (OA-4) to the ISS went well this time around.
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The start of the flight and the subsequent three missions under the tutelage of NASA went like a breeze. The cargo weighed 7700 pounds which is the heaviest amount of equipment that has ever been delivered so far to the ISS.
The next cargo mission will take place from Cape Canaveral in March of this year. The latest Cygnus spacecraft will be employed for the journey to the ISS.
Two other space missions will be launched via the Antares rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility in Eastern Virginia. The previous Cygnus mission spent 72 days in space docked next to the ISS.
Over 3000 pounds of stuff was on board the spacecraft. As for its re-entry into earth’s atmosphere on the journey back, it went smooth as silk. With the OA-4 mission, history was made and NASA has not looked back.
From launch to re-entry, it was all an impeccable operation that was micro-managed down to the last details. March is the next short-term goal that has been set for now. It too is hoped to go well.
“Orbital ATK made history with the OA-4 mission, delivering a record amount of cargo by a commercial system to the ISS,” said Frank Culbertson, President of Orbital ATK’s Space Systems Group.
“From launch to our safe reentry, the entire Orbital ATK team performed flawlessly on every phase of this mission. We now turn our efforts toward final preparations for the next Cygnus cargo mission in March with a continued focus on supporting the needs of the crew members aboard the ISS.”
The whole scheme began in December of 2015. Back then an Atlas V rocket was used to launch the Cygnus spacecraft into space. The next step is the OA-6 mission.
Preparations are underway for this planned cruise into space at the Kennedy Space Center. Towards the end of 2018, the goal of ten missions would have been accomplished.
All in all up until 2018, some 59,000 pounds of cargo would have been transferred on board the ISS. Then in 2019, which is a long way off, Orbital ATK will send half a dozen cargo missions to the ISS as part of its CRS-2 contract.
The ISS is our lifeline to the rest of the solar system. Any future missions whether they be to Mars or any other planets will have to go through the halfway house which is the ISS.
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Orbital ATK will do the best it can for the future which is nothing other than the colonization of space. What better place to start from other than our own solar system.