ATK’s (NYSE: ATK) CASTOR® 30 upper stage solid rocket motor supported the successful cargo demonstration launch of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s (NYSE: ORB) Antares™ rocket as it lifted off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia today at 10:58 a.m. EDT. This demonstration flight to the International Space Station (ISS) is the final milestone in Orbital’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) joint development effort with NASA before Orbital begins regular cargo resupply missions to the orbiting laboratory through NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.
„This launch prepares the way for Orbital to begin supplying the ISS on regularly scheduled flights and we congratulate our customer on another success,” said Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager of ATK’s Defense and Commercial division. „We are excited to be a part of Orbital’s Antares team as they undertake future missions for the NASA CRS program.”
ATK’s commercial CASTOR 30 motor was developed in response to a market need for a large-diameter upper stage motor, low-cost option. It has the flexibility to serve markets as diverse as space launch, prompt global strike and operationally responsive space. In support of today’s launch, the motor fired for approximately 153 seconds and produced 73,000 pounds of maximum thrust to loft the Cygnus spacecraft carrying 1,611 pounds of cargo into the proper orbit. This is the last of the baseline CASTOR 30 motors, as all future flights will utilize the enhanced CASTOR 30B or CASTOR 30XL motors, increasing payload capability for the vehicle.
Orbital developed Antares and the Cygnus cargo spacecraft under NASA’s COTS program. NASA initiatives like COTS are helping develop a robust U.S. commercial space transportation industry, with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit.
Source / Author: ATK