An Orbital ATK spacecraft took off Monday aboard the company’s Antares rocket to deliver approximately 7,400 pounds of experiments and crew supplies to the International Space Station.
The launch of the Orbital ATK-built Cygnus spacecraft designated S.S. J.R. Thompson from NASA‘s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia serves as the company's ninth cargo delivery mission to the orbiting laboratory under the Commercial Resupply Services 1 contract, Orbital ATK said Monday.
Cygnus, which was originally scheduled to lift off Sunday, has established communications and deployed its solar arrays following launch and is expected to reach the ISS on May 24.
The spacecraft features an updated communications platform – Common Communication for Visiting Vehicles — to streamline communications with scientific payloads and will stay at the ISS for seven months before leaving for Earth with approximately 7,100 pounds of cargo for disposal.
S.S. J.R. Thompson will facilitate the release of six cubesats into orbit through a NanoRacks deployer once it unmoors from the ISS.
The space vehicle consists of a Thales Alenia Space-made pressurized cargo module and a common service module built at Orbital ATK's facility in Dulles, Va.
Orbital ATK is set to execute six cargo delivery missions to the space station in 2019 under the CRS-2 contract with NASA.