Cygnus CRS Orb-1

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Cygnus CRS Orb-1
Cygnus 2 approaches ISS (ISS038-E-028044, modified).jpg
Cygnus arriving at the ISS, 12 January 2014
Mission type ISS resupply
Operator Orbital Sciences
COSPAR ID 2014-003A
SATCAT no. 39502
Mission duration 41 days, 12 minutes
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft Cygnus 2
Spacecraft type Standard Cygnus[1]
Manufacturer Orbital Sciences
Thales Alenia Space
Payload mass 1,261 kg (2,780 lb)[2]
Start of mission
Launch date 9 January 2014, 18:07:05 (2014-01-09UTC18:07:05) UTC[3]
Rocket Antares 120[1]
Launch site MARS LP-0A
Contractor Orbital Sciences
End of mission
Disposal Deorbited
Decay date 19 February 2014, 18:20 (2014-02-19UTC18:21) UTC[4]
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Perigee 406 km (252 mi)
Apogee 415 km (258 mi)
Inclination 51.6 degrees
Period 92.77 minutes
Epoch 11 January 2014[5]
Berthing at International Space Station
Berthing port Harmony nadir
RMS capture 12 January 2014, 11:08 UTC
Berthing date 12 January 2014, 13:05 UTC
Unberthing date 18 February 2014, 10:25 UTC
RMS release 18 February 2014, 11:41 UTC
Time berthed 36 days, 21 hours, 20 minutes

Orbital Sciences CRS Flight 1 Patch.png
NASA Orb-1 mission patch

Cygnus CRS Orb-1,[6] also known as Orbital-1,[7] was the second flight of the Orbital Sciences Cygnus unmanned resupply spacecraft, its second flight to the International Space Station and the third launch of the company's Antares launch vehicle.


Orb-1 was the first of eight contracted flights by Orbital Sciences under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services program. This was the maiden flight of the Castor 30B second stage.

Orbital Sciences continued its naming of Cygnus spacecraft in tribute to former astronauts. This vehicle was named the C. Gordon Fullerton for the NASA astronaut who died on 21 August 2013.[8]

Launch and early operations[edit]

Antares and Cygnus, 6 January 2014

The launch of Orb-1 was scheduled for November 2013,[9] but a series of delays pushed the date to 20 December UTC.[10] The Antares launch vehicle rolled out from the Wallops Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) on the morning of 17 December, and was later erected at Launch Pad 0A. Later that day, due to the need for a series of spacewalks to fix a faulty coolant system on the space station, NASA directed Orbital to stand down the Antares rocket. Antares was rolled back to the HIF and time-sensitive cargo removed. The launch date was rescheduled for no earlier than 13 January 2014, but was later moved forward to 7 January after a scheduling conflict at Wallops was resolved.[11][12] The launch was delayed one day due to cold temperatures at the launch site.[13]

NASA Wallops and Orbital Sciences announced the launch attempt on 8 January 2014 was scrubbed due to "an unusually high level of space radiation that exceeded by a considerable margin the constraints imposed on the mission to ensure the rocket's electronic systems are not impacted by a harsh radiation environment."[13] Orbital later revised this, stating that a more extensive review of the radiation environment found it to be "within acceptable limits" of the Antares program, and that a launch would be attempted on 9 January.[13]

The Orb-1 mission successfully launched on 9 January 2014 at 18:07:05 UTC from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Launch Pad 0A. Solar array deployment occurred shortly after arriving in orbit. The Cygnus spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station early on 12 January.[14][15][16]

The launch was expected to be viewable from South Carolina through Massachusetts and as far west as West Virginia. As with its last couple of launches out of Wallops, Orbital Sciences released viewing information for the Eastern U.S., including maps indicating launch vehicle maximum elevation above horizon and time of first sighting after launch for the various viewing locations.[17]

Attempt Planned Result Turnaround Reason Decision point Weather go (%) Notes
1 20 Dec 2013, 12:00:00 pm delayed technical 17 Dec 2013, 12:00 pm ISS coolant loop repair spacewalks forced delay[10]
2 7 Jan 2014, 1:55:00 pm delayed 18 days, 1 hour, 55 minutes weather 3 Jan 2014, 12:00 pm Delayed due to extreme cold temperatures[13]
3 8 Jan 2014, 1:32:00 pm scrubbed 0 days, 23 hours, 37 minutes space weather 8 Jan 2014, 8:00 am 95% Scrubbed for concerns about avionics health due to recent solar flux activity[13]
4 9 Jan 2014, 1:07:05 pm success 0 days, 23 hours, 35 minutes Successful launch


Cygnus was filled with 1,261 kilograms (2,780 lb) of supplies for the ISS, including science experiments and hardware to expand the research capability of the station, crew provisions and spare parts.[2] This included 12 experiments flying as part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, selected from 1,466 entrants and involving 7,200 North American students.[18]

A sample of the major experiments focus on:[2]

End of mission[edit]

Canadarm2 unberthed the Cygnus spacecraft from the nadir port of the Harmony module on 18 February 2014 at 10:25 UTC. The spacecraft was then maneuvered to a position below the station, where it was released from the RMS at 11:41 UTC. It then performed a series of separation maneuvers to move it away from the station. The spacecraft reentered the atmosphere and burned up on 19 February 2014 over the southern Pacific Ocean, disposing of approximately 1,470 kilograms (3,250 lb) of trash.[4]



  1. ^ a b Bergin, Chris (22 February 2012). "Space industry giants Orbital upbeat ahead of Antares debut". Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Orbital 1 Cargo By-The-Numbers". 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Cygnus in Orbit after dynamic Countdown but flawless Antares Launch". Spaceflight 101. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (18 February 2014). "Mission Status Center". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  5. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Satellite Catalog". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Rao, Joe (16 December 2013). "Private Rocket Launch Thursday Night Visible from US East Coast". Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Kremer, Ken (17 December 2013). "How to See Spectacular Prime Time Night Launch of Antares Commercial Rocket to ISS on Dec. 19". Universe Today. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Pearlman, Robert Z. (9 December 2013). "Orbital names next space station freighter for late pilot-astronaut". CollectSpace. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Worldwide launch schedule". Spaceflight Now. 10 September 2013. Archived from the original on 11 September 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Worldwide launch schedule". Spaceflight Now. 13 December 2013. Archived from the original on 26 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "ISS Commercial Resupply Services Mission (Orb-1): Mission Updates". 20 December 2013. Archived from the original on 22 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "NASA Postpones Orbital Launch, Sets Spacewalks to Repair Faulty Pump Module". 17 December 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c d e "ISS Commercial Resupply Services Mission (Orb-1): Mission Updates". 8 January 2014. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014. 
  14. ^ "Cygnus Heads to Space for First Station Resupply Mission". 9 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Orbital Sciences (9 January 2014). "Cygnus solar arrays are now deployed". Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  16. ^ Harwood, William (12 January 2014). "Cygnus cargo ship successfully attached to space station". CBS News. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "ISS Commercial Resupply Services Mission (Orb-1): Launch Viewing Maps". 2013. 
  18. ^ "Selected Experiments on SSEP Mission 3 to ISS". National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 

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