Monday, January 09, 2012

Work Progresses on Orbital Sciences Spacecraft in Virginia

Although much attention has been devoted to next month’s Commercial Orbital Transportation System, or C.O.T.S. test flight of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, another competitor for C.O.T.S. has been toiling ahead in anticipation of their own upcoming test flight.

Orbital Sciences Corp. is busy readying their Cygnus spacecraft for a first-quarter 2012 launch from their facilities at Wallops Island in Virginia. Orbital Sciences said they will update their launch schedule early in February when the company releases their quarterly financial results. They expect to fly an initial demonstration flight, followed by a demonstration flight to the International Space Station later in the year.

An image posted on the Orbital Sciences website depicted technicians in Virginia working on the command modules of spacecraft being readied to fly cargo to the International Space Station this year.

The most recent schedule calls for a maiden flight of the company's Antares rocket, formerly known as the Taurus II, in the first quarter of this year, followed by a Cygnus demonstration flight to the International Space Station in the next quarter. Work continues at the Wallops Island site to construct a new launch pad for the upcoming missions.

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