Northrop Grumman is developing a new approach that would allow for cargo loading to take place 24 hours before the launch of a spacecraft.
The company said Tuesday it is preparing to implement the use of a pop-top, a specialized removable nose cone that would support late loading for Antares and Cygnus spacecraft.
Additionally, a mobile payload processing facility would manage access for this loading approach to support operations with strict time requirements.
Northrop will demonstrate the late load approach with the Antares during the 11th commercial resupply services mission scheduled to occur in April 2019.
In preparation, the company’s assigned team is conducting a dry run of the late load approach.