Capability: Cargo Earth Orbit Logistics
Maiden Flight: 2015-12-06
Flight Life: 1 week to 2 years design life.
Payload Capacity: 3750
Cygnus CRS OA-8E, also known as Orbital ATK CRS-8E, was the ninth flight of the Orbital ATK unmanned resupply spacecraft Cygnus and its eighth flight to the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. Orbital and NASA jointly developed a new space transportation system to provide commercial cargo resupply services to the International Space Station (ISS). Under the Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) program, then Orbital Sciences designed and built Antares, a medium-class launch vehicle; Cygnus, an advanced maneuvering spacecraft, and a Pressurized Cargo Module which is provided by Orbital’s industrial partner Thales Alenia Space.
Cygnus is a spacecraft developed originally by Orbital ATK and then acquired by Northrup Grumman after an acquisition. It is used to transport cargo to the ISS.
The first operational mission of Cygnus to the ISS was in September 2013.
One flight on 28 October 2014 ended in a failure when the Antares launch vehicle, used to launch the Cygnus, exploded shortly after launch. This set back the Cygnus launch schedule over a year. Following the launch anomaly a new version known as ‘Cygnus Enhanced’ was flown. This extended the Cygnus length and allowed it to carry an extra 700kg to the ISS.
The Cygnus spacecraft is launched aboard Antares, Atlas V, or Falcon 9 to deliver cargo to the ISS under NASAs CRS contracts. It has no heatshield so at the end of its mission its used to dispose of waste by burning up in the Earths atmosphere.
Northrop Grumman Space Systems
Northrup Grumman Space Systems designs, builds and delivers space, defence and aviation-related systems to customers around the world. They aquired Orbital ATK in 2018 along with its launchers and ongoing missions.