Frank Culbertson: Orbital ATK Expects NASA Decision on Choice of CRS-2 Mission Rockets Soon

Frank Culbertson, president of Orbital ATK’s space systems group, has said the company expects NASA to decide soon on whether to use its Antares vehicle or the United Launch Alliance-built Atlas V rocket in Cygnus spacecraft’s future cargo missions as part of the Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract, Space News reported Tuesday.

Jeff Foust writes Culbertson made the remarks a day before the scheduled launch of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft aboard Atlas V to carry out the seventh cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station under the company’s first CRS contract with NASA.

“On CRS-2, NASA hasn’t actually told us exactly which missions they’ll want on which vehicles,” Culbertson said Monday during a press conference at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“We’re waiting to see which way they’d like for us to go, whether it’s a mix or all one or the other,” he added.

Orbital ATK, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada secured the CRS-2 contracts from NASA in January 2016 to deliver cargo to and from the ISS through 2024.

Culbertson noted that Orbital ATK plans to use the Antares rocket for the remaining ISS cargo missions under the CRS-1 contract with plans to launch the next mission by the summer of 2017 contingent upon cargo requirements and ISS schedules, according to Space News.

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