Category Archives: Orb-3

Wallops Island to receive $20 million from Federal budget to repair damaged the MARS launch pad 0A

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The October explosion of the Orbital Science ORB-3 resupply mission rocket destined to the International Space Station caused an estimated $20 million damage to Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s (MARS for short) pad 0A.  It was not clear where the funding would come from to repair the damage. The state Virginia had stated that they did not have the budget to cover the expense.

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Photo by JD Taylor

Included in the 1.1 trillion Federal spending bill passed by the House last night (12/11/2014) was the $20 million to cover the pad damage. The Senate is to vote on the bill as early as Friday.    NASA’s overall budget will be increased by 2% to $18 billion next year, that is a $364 million increase over current levels.

Rep. Scott Rigell, R-2nd, also worked with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport and the House Appropriations Committee to secure funding in the bill to restore the launch pad, according to his press secretary, Kaylin Minton.
Rigell represents Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where Wallops is located. Minton called the Wallops facility “a world-class operation and a critical component for continued space exploration.”
“These funds will help ensure that future scheduled launches will remain as planned and that commercial spaceflight maintains its economic presence on Virginia’s Eastern Shore at NASA Wallops” reported by Richmond Times-Dispatch (Twitter@mmartzRTD)

Democratic senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced Thursday they’d sought the spending provision in an effort to help the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, known as MARS, “rebound” from that catastrophic launch failure. MARS is located at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore.

“The Wallops Flight Facility is a key asset to Virginia that will continue to play a major role in the future of NASA and space exploration,” Warner and Kaine said in a joint statement on their funding efforts. “We are proud of our work with partners in the House and across the aisle to secure $20 million in federal funding that will help Wallops Island rebound from the launch failure this fall. The Wallops Flight Facility is a key asset to Virginia that will continue to play a major role in the future of NASA and space exploration. We especially want to thank Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the Appropriations chair, who has been a key supporter and advocate of NASA and the Wallops facility.”

Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr. (a Democratic member of the Virginia State Senate, representing District 6), released the following statement:

“The announcement that the compromise spending Bill expected to be voted on and passed by Congress this week contains $20 million in Federal funding for repairs to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport is great news. It clearly indicates the importance of our Wallops Island launch facility to the future of commercial space launches.

I want to thank Senator Warner, Senator Kaine and Congressman Rigell for all of their hard work to include this funding in the compromise Bill.

This is especially good news in light of Orbital’s announcement earlier this week that while it must launch from Cape Canaveral until the Wallops Island launch facility is repaired, they fully intend to resume launches at Wallops with their new engine in 2016.,

I will continue to work in the General Assembly to make Virginia a leader in commercial space launches.”

 

 

Hurricane Gonzalo pushes ORB3 launch to NET Oct 27

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Hurricane Gonzalo pushes toward Bermuda and that pushes ORB3 launch to back to “no earlier than” (NET) Oct 27, 2014.

“The Wallops range relies on the Bermuda downrange assets to track and maintain data communications with the Antares rocket during flight and ultimately to ensure public safety during launch operations,” said Steven Kremer, Chief of the Wallops Range and Mission Management Office.

From Orbital’s mission update page:

Due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Gonzalo on the island of Bermuda, where an essential tracking site used to ensure public safety during Antares launches is located, the previously announced “no earlier than” (NET) launch date of October 24 for the Orb-3 CRS mission to the International Space Station for NASA is no longer feasible.

Once the hurricane has passed Bermuda, a team from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility Range will return to the tracking site to assess the situation and begin the process of re-enabling the site’s functionality to support the launch.

Today, Orbital and NASA together established a NET October 27 for the launch of the Orb-3 mission from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA Wallops. However, depending on the impact of the storm on Bermuda’s essential infrastructure systems such as transportation, power and communications, the launch date could be moved later. The launch schedule has been established in order to build flexibility into the overall mission schedule.

For an October 27 launch, lift-off time of the Antares rocket is targeted for 6:44 p.m. (EDT). The rendezvous and berthing of Cygnus with the ISS remains on November 2, with grapple of the spacecraft by the station’s robotic arm at approximately 4:58 a.m. (EST).

Orbital Sciences announces date for ISS Commercial Resupply Services Mission (Orb-3) Launch

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Launch Date: No Earlier Than October 20, 2014
Launch Site: MARS Pad 0A at NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, VA

 

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Information provided by Orbital Sciences Corporation:

Mission Overview

Designated the “Orb-3” or “#ORB3” for Twitter, it will be the fourth Orbital Science “Cygnus cargo mission” to the ISS and the fifth Antares launch in the last 18 months. A two-stage Antares rocket carrying Orbital’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft is scheduled to lift-off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia on Pad-0A.  The current schedule is for “no earlier than October 20, 2014” with a targeted launch time for the 20th of 9:29 pm (EST) reaching the International Space Station (ISS) approximately 3 days later. After separation from Antares, the Cygnus spacecraft will deploy its solar arrays and undergo initial check-out. The spacecraft will bring itself within 4 km (about 2.5 miles) of the ISS prior to receiving authorization to autonomously rendezvous with the station. When the vehicle approaches to within 12 meters (about 50 ft), the ISS will use it’s robotic arm to grapple Cygnus and berth it to the Harmony node of the station. Cygnus is planned to remain connect to the ISS for approximately five weeks during while the station crew unloads supplies and reloads it with materials for disposal. After Cygnus departs the station, it will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere. For this mission Cygnus will carry approximately 2,290 kg (5,050 lbs.) of cargo to the ISS for NASA.

Viewing the Launch

The Orb-3 launch will be viable from much of the east coast on the US and  will be broadcast live on NASA TV. .

For more information:

Orbital Antares Web Page
Orbital Antares Fact Sheet
Orbital Cygnus Fact Sheet
Orbital COTS/CRS Fact Sheet
NASA Commercial Space Transportation Web Site