Cygnus CRS OA-5

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Cygnus CRS OA-5
Cygnus 7 captured by Canadarm2.jpg
The Cygnus spacecraft captured by the ISS robotic arm, during Cygnus CRS OA-5.
Mission type ISS resupply
Operator NASA
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type Enhanced Cygnus[1][2]
Manufacturer Orbital ATK
Thales Alenia Space
Start of mission
Launch date 17 October 2016, 23:45 (2016-10-17UTC23:45Z) UTC[3]
Rocket Antares 230[4][5]
Launch site MARS LP-0A
Contractor Orbital ATK
End of mission
Disposal Deorbited
Decay date 27 November 2016, 23:36 (2016-11-27UTC23:37Z) UTC
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Perigee 213km
Apogee 361km
Inclination 51.62 degrees
Epoch Planned
Berthing at ISS
Berthing port Unity nadir[3]

Orbital Sciences CRS Flight 5 Patch.png Cygnus CRS OA-5 Orbital ATK patch.png
NASA (left) and Orbital ATK (right) insignias for OA-5.

Cygnus CRS OA-5, also known as Orbital Sciences CRS Flight 5, is the seventh planned flight of the Orbital Sciences' unmanned resupply spacecraft Cygnus and its sixth flight to the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.[6][7] Orbital and NASA jointly developed a new space transportation system to provide commercial cargo resupply services to the International Space Station (ISS). Under the Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) program, Orbital designed and built Antares, a medium-class launch vehicle; Cygnus, an advanced maneuvering spacecraft, and a Pressurized Cargo Module which is provided by Orbital's industrial partner Thales Alenia Space.[8]

The Cygnus spacecraft for this mission is named the S.S. Alan Poindexter in honor to astronaut Alan G. Poindexter, a deceased space shuttle commander.[9] Poindexter was selected in the 1998 NASA Group (G17) and went into orbit aboard Space Shuttle Missions STS-122, and STS-131


The COTS demonstration mission was successfully conducted in September 2013, and Orbital commenced operational ISS cargo missions under the Commercial Resupply Service (CRS) program with two missions in 2014. Regrettably, the third operational mission, Orb CRS-3, was not successful due to spectacular Antares failure during launch. The company decided to discontinue the Antares 100 series and accelerate the introduction of a new propulsion system. The Antares system is being upgraded with newly built RD-181 first stage engines to provide greater payload performance and increased reliability.[10]

In late 2014 Orbital contracted United Launch Alliance for an Atlas V launch of Orb OA-4 in late 2015 from Cape Canaveral, FL, and with a second Atlas V launch of Cygnus in 2016.[10][11] The company plans three Cygnus missions in 2016, in the first (CRS OA-6), third (CRS OA-5) and fourth quarters (CRS OA-7) of 2016. The Cygnus OA-5 and OA-7 will fly on the new Antares 230 and OA-6 will fly on second Atlas V in first quarter of 2016. These three missions enable Orbital ATK to fulfill their CRS contracted payload obligation.[11] This particular mission is known as OA-5.

Production and integration of Cygnus spacecraft is performed in Dulles, VA. The Cygnus service module is mated with the pressurized cargo module at the launch site, and mission operations are conducted from control centers in Dulles and Houston.[8]


This is the sixth of ten flights by Orbital Sciences under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. This will be the third flight of the Enhanced sized Cygnus PCM.[11] The mission successfully launched on 17 October 2016, 23:45 UTC (17 October 2016, 19:45 EDT).[3]

In keeping with an Orbital Sciences tradition, this Cygnus spacecraft is named the S.S. Alan Poindexter after the NASA astronaut who flew aboard the Space Shuttle twice (2008 & 2010).


  • Total Cargo on Ascent: 4,870 kg (10,740 lb)
    • Science Investigations 1,097.9 pounds (498.0 kg)
    • Crew Supplies 1,289.7 pounds (585.0 kg)
    • Vehicle Hardware 2,255.3 pounds (1,023.0 kg)
    • Spacewalk Equipment 11 pounds (5.0 kg)
    • Computer Resources 123.5 pounds (56.0 kg)
    • Russian Hardware 92.6 pounds (42.0 kg)
  • Total Cargo with Packaging 5,163.2 pounds (2,342.0 kg)
  • Cubesats (unpressurized cargo): 183 pounds (83 kg)[12]
  • Total Cargo on Descent (destructive): 1,687 kg (3,719 lb)[12]

Other OA projects[edit]

NASA had planned the next Cygnus flight, OA-7, for December 30, 2016. However, in October 2016, it was announced that OA-7 was being delayed until March 2017 and switched from the Antares launch vehicle to a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket to provide additional cargo up mass for NASA.[13]

In 2015, under the NASA CRS-1 contract, Orbital was awarded three extension flights for 2017 and 2018. The OA-8E flight has tentatively been scheduled for June 12, 2017, followed by OA-9E later that year and OA-10E in 2018. Cargo vehicle scheduling is dynamic with the ISS partners. The schedule will be influenced by the first USA manned commercial flights (SpaceX, Boeing) to ISS since Space Shuttle retirement in 2011.[7][14]

Cubesat release[edit]

On November 25, 2016, after leaving the ISS, the spacecraft raised its orbit to 500 kilometers and released four Lemur-2 cubesats for Spire Global.[15]


  1. ^ Bergin, Chris (February 22, 2012). "Space industry giants Orbital upbeat ahead of Antares debut". NasaSpaceflight (not affiliated with NASA). Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Orbital ATK Team on Track for Fall 2015 Cygnus Mission and Antares Return to Flight in 2016". Orbital ATK. August 12, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "OA-5 Mission Page". Orbital ATK. 15 October 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
  4. ^ "Launch Schedule". Retrieved June 25, 2016. 
  5. ^ Scimemi, Sam (July 2015). "International Space Station Status" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Worldwide launch schedule". Retrieved February 12, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "International Space Station Flight Schedule". Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. May 15, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Cygnus Fact Sheet" (PDF). Orbital ATK. March 24, 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 26, 2015. Retrieved August 14, 2015. 
  9. ^ "S.S. Alan Poindexter: Orbital ATK freighter named for late shuttle astronaut". collectSPACE. 7 June 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Gebhardt, Chris (August 14, 2015). "Orbital ATK make progress toward Return To Flight of Antares rocket". Retrieved August 14, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b c Leone, Dan (August 17, 2015). "NASA Orders Two More ISS Cargo Missions From Orbital ATK". Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "OA-5 Fact Sheet" (PDF). Orbital ATK. Retrieved October 10, 2016. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Krebs, Gunter Dirk (August 18, 2015). "Cygnus-PCM (enhanced)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  15. ^ Foust, Jeff (26 November 2016). "Spire deploys four satellites from Cygnus". Space News.