Cygnus CRS Orb-3

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Cygnus CRS Orb-3
Antares Orb-3 launch failure (201410280009HQ).jpg
Explosion on the Cygnus CRS Orb-3 launch vehicle seconds after launch
Mission type ISS resupply
Operator Orbital Sciences Corporation
Mission duration 15 seconds
(1 month planned)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type Standard Cygnus[1]
Manufacturer Orbital Sciences
Thales Alenia Space
Start of mission
Launch date October 28, 2014, 22:22:38 (2014-10-28UTC22:22:38Z) UTC[2]
Rocket Antares 130[1]
Launch site MARS LP-0A
Contractor Orbital Sciences

Cygnus Orb-3 Mission Emblem.jpg


← Cygnus CRS Orb-2 Cygnus CRS Orb-4

Cygnus CRS Orb-3,[3][4] also known as Orbital Sciences CRS Flight 3 or Orbital 3 (Orb-3), was an attempted flight of Cygnus, an automated cargo spacecraft developed by United States-based company Orbital Sciences, on October 28, 2014. This flight, which would have been its fourth to the International Space Station and the fifth of an Antares launch vehicle, resulted in the Antares rocket exploding seconds after liftoff.[5]

Spacecraft[edit]

Main article: Cygnus (spacecraft)
Cygnus Orb-3 spacecraft integrated with Antares rocket

This would have been the third of eight flights by Orbital Sciences under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. This was the first attempted flight of the Antares 130, which uses a more powerful Castor 30XL second stage, and the last flight of the standard-sized Cygnus Pressurized Cargo Module.

In an Orbital Sciences tradition, this Cygnus spacecraft was named Deke Slayton after one of NASA's original Mercury Seven astronauts and Director of Flight Operations, who died in 1993.[6]

Launch and early operations[edit]

The mission was scheduled to launch on October 27, 2014, at 22:45 UTC from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at the Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, with rendezvous and berthing with the ISS early in the morning on November 2.[2] This was the first night-time launch for both the Antares launcher and Cygnus spacecraft.[2] The launch was scrubbed due to safety concerns of a sailboat entering the exclusion zone less than ten minutes before launch. A 24-hour delay was put in place, with the next launch opportunity scheduled for 22:22:38 UTC on October 28, 2014.

Launch failure[edit]

Video of liftoff and explosion of rocket

The Antares rocket carrying the Orb-3 Cygnus launched as scheduled from Launch Pad 0A on October 28, 2014. Fifteen seconds after liftoff a failure of propulsion occurred in the first stage and the vehicle began falling back to the launch pad; before reaching the ground it was destroyed by its flight termination system which was engaged by a command from the Wallops Range Control Center.[7][8]

The resulting explosion was felt in Pocomoke City, Maryland, 20 miles (32 km) away.[9] The fire at the site was quickly contained and allowed to burn itself out overnight.[5][10] Initial review of telemetry data found no abnormalities in the pre-launch, the launch sequence, and the flight, until the time of the failure.[7]

In a press release, NASA stated that there were no known issues prior to launch and that no personnel were injured or missing but that the entire payload was lost and there was significant damage to the launch pad.[11][12] However, a survey on October 29 found no serious damage to the launch pad and site fuel tanks, although some repairs will be required.[7]

On October 29, 2014, teams of investigators began examining debris at the crash site.[13]

Payload[edit]

Orb-3 carried a variety of NASA-manifested payloads, some determined fairly late in the days before the launch. The cargo module from the rocket carried 2,300 kilograms (5,000 lb) of supplies and experiments meant for the International Space Station.[13] In addition, the Arkyd-3 satellite would have been transported to the ISS on this flight.[14]

Flock-1d[edit]

Planet Labs was launching Flock-1d, its next flock of 26 Earth observation nanosatellites.[15] After the accident they stated that this would not set them back due to their approach to space involving many satellites in various constellations.[16]

Arkyd-3[edit]

Arkyd-3 was a 3U CubeSat technology demonstrator from private company Planetary Resources (PRI). PRI had packaged a number of the non-optical satellite technologies of its larger Arkyd-100 telescope satellite—essentially the entire base of the Arkyd-100 satellite model revealed in January 2013,[17] but without the space telescope—into a "cost-effective box" of Arkyd 3, or A3, for early in-space flight testing as a subscale nanosatellite. The Arkyd-3 testbed satellite was packaged as a 3U CubeSat form-factor of 10×10×30 centimetres (0.33×0.33×0.98 ft).[18] PRI contracted with NanoRacks to take the A3 to the ISS where it was planned to be released from the airlock in the Kibo module.[19][18]

The subsystems to be tested included the avionics, attitude determination and control system (both sensors and actuators), and integrated propulsion system that will enable proximity operations for the Arkyd line of prospectors in the future.[20]

This near-term attempt to validate and mature the Planetary Resources satellite technology was planned to launch in October 2014, before launch and flight test of the Arkyd-100 in 2015.[14]

Other payloads[edit]

CRS Orb-3 was carrying eighteen student experiments designed to investigate crystal formation, seed germination, plant growth, and other processes in microgravity as part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.[21]

Two amateur radio CubeSats, RACE and GOMX-2, were onboard, among other satellites. On board GOMX-2 were two payloads. One payload was a pathfinder experiment for the Small Photon-Entangling Quantum System [22] designed by the Centre for Quantum Technologies. [23] The other was a sail brake experiment to remove a CubeSat from orbit by increasing aerodynamic drag.[24]

Manifest[edit]

Total cargo: 2,215 kg (4,883 lb)[25]

  • Science investigations: 727.0 kg (1,602.8 lb)
    • U.S. science: 569.0 kg (1,254.4 lb)
    • International partner science: 158.0 kg (348.3 lb)
  • Crew supplies: 748 kg (1,649 lb)
    • Equipment: 124.0 kg (273.4 lb)
    • Food: 617.0 kg (1,360.3 lb)
    • Flight procedure books: 7.0 kg (15.4 lb)
  • Vehicle hardware: 637.0 kg (1,404.3 lb)
    • U.S. hardware: 605.7 kg (1,335.4 lb)
    • JAXA hardware: 30.0 kg (66.1 lb)
  • Spacewalk equipment: 66.0 kg (145.5 lb)
  • Computer resources: 37.0 kg (81.6 lb)
    • Command & data handling equipment: 34 kg (75 lb)
    • Photography/TV equipment: 3.0 kg (6.6 lb)

Total cargo with packaging: 2,294 kg (5,057 lb)

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bergin, Chris (February 22, 2012). "Space industry giants Orbital upbeat ahead of Antares debut". NASA Spaceflight. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "First Nighttime Launch of the Antares Rocket Scheduled Oct. 27 From Wallops". NASA. Orbital Sciences Corp. October 22, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Worldwide Launch Schedule". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  4. ^ "International Space Station Flight Schedule". SEDS. May 15, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Plait, Phil (October 28, 2014). "BREAKING: Antares Rocket Explodes On Takeoff". Slate. Retrieved October 28, 2014. 
  6. ^ "ISS Commercial Resupply Services Mission (Orb-3): Mission Update – October 22, 2014". Orbital Sciences. October 22, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "Orb-3 Mission Updates". Orbital Sciences Corp. 
  8. ^ Stephen Clark (October 31, 2014). "First stage propulsion system is early focus of Antares investigation". spaceflightnow.com. 
  9. ^ Vaughn, Carol (October 29, 2014). "Explosion witness: "It looked like an atomic bomb"". Delmarva Daily Times. 
  10. ^ "Unmanned NASA-contracted rocket explodes over eastern Virginia". CNN. October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  11. ^ "NASA, Orbital CRS-3 Press Conference Scheduled". NASA. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  12. ^ Wall, Mike (October 28, 2014). "Private Orbital Sciences Rocket Explodes During Launch, NASA Cargo Lost". Space.com (Purch). Retrieved October 28, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "Teams investigate failure of unmanned rocket off Virginia coast". CNN. October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b Wilhelm, Steve (October 16, 2014). "First step toward asteroid mining: Planetary Resources set to launch test satellite". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Flock-1, −1b, −1c, −1d, −1e". http://space.skyrocket.de/. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Space is hard: Antares rocket failure". planet.com/. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  17. ^ Heater, Bryan (January 21, 2013). "Planetary Resources shows off Arkyd-100 prototype, gives a tour of its workspace". Engadget. Retrieved January 23, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b Wall, Mike (April 24, 2013). "Private Asteroid-Mining Project Launching Tiny Satellites in 2014". Space.com. Retrieved April 25, 2013. 
  19. ^ Romano, Benjamin (June 26, 2013). "Planetary Resources Inks 3D Systems Deal, Plans Test Launch From ISS". Xconomy. Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  20. ^ Lewicki, Chris; Voorhees, Chris; Anunsen, Spencer (April 24, 2013). "Planetary Resources One-year Update". YouTube. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Cygnus Orb-3 Cargo Manifest". Spaceflight 101. 
  22. ^ Ling, Alexander. "Alexander Ling's Team Webpage"
  23. ^ The Centre for Quantum Technologies
  24. ^ Djursing, Thomas. "Aalborg-forskers patenterede rumopfindelse gik tabt i raket-eksplosion" Ingeniøren, October 30, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  25. ^ "Orbital CRS-3 Mission Overview". NASA. October 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2014. 

External links[edit]