Fourth Time's a Charm for OA-4 Cargo Mission to ISS

Fourth Time's a Charm for OA-4 Cargo Mission to ISS

After three weather-related delays, Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft was successfully launched today (Sunday) aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.  Liftoff was at 4:44:57 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST).

This is the fourth operational launch to ISS for Orbital ATK under its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA.  The first two were successes, but the third (Orb-3) was lost when its Antares rocket exploded 15 seconds after launch on October 28, 2014.   Orbital ATK hopes to resume launches on Antares in May 2016, but is using ULA’s Atlas V rocket for two launches in the interim — this one and another in March.

This mission is designated OA-4 because Orbital Sciences Corporation merged with ATK earlier this year, becoming Orbital ATK (OA) and is the fourth in the series begun by Orbital Sciences prior to the merger.  Orbital ATK names its ISS cargo spacecraft after prominent individuals, in this case former NASA astronaut and space launch entrepreneur Deke Slayton.

Cygnus is loaded with more than 3,500 kilograms (7,000 pounds ) of supplies, scientific experiments and equipment for the ISS crew.   If all goes according to plan, Cygnus will reach the ISS on Wednesday, December 9.

The launch was delayed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday because of weather issues (rain and wind).

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