The Cygnus spacecraft was successfully launched (OA-5 Mission) by the Antares launch vehicle to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility based in Virginia. The Cygnus spacecraft comprises two modules: Orbital ATK’s Service Module and the Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM), developed and built by Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo-Finmeccanica (33%), for Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA). The PCM cargo-carrying capability is in excess of 3,500 kg (7,716 pounds), including supplies for the crew, spare parts and scientific equipment.
Once the Cygnus spacecraft reaches the International Space Station, it will be captured by the robotic arm and berthed to the Nadir port of Node 1. After the Cygnus spacecraft is detached from Node 1 and completes its mission, it will re-enter the atmosphere, burning up in the process and taking with it waste from the station that can weigh as much as the original cargo load.
Thales Alenia Space has recently signed a new contract with Orbital ATK regarding the supply of another nine Cygnus PCM pressurized modules; this demonstrates Thales Alenia Space capabilities to fulfil last minute requirements of the ISS re-supply missions. Thales Alenia Space experience and expertise provide support for space exploration through the organisation of missions for the ISS In support of the space exploration.
The new Cygnus PCM modules will be produced using the new friction welding system, which has been operational at the Turin plant since the end of 2015. These will have an “enhanced” configuration, with an increased transport capacity of over 3,500 kg. The new pressurized modules foresee a series of enhancements compared to the standards used in previous missions; in particular, the new design is a lighter and more efficient solution with regards to the housing of the load-carrying capability of its structure, increasing the load transport capacity, both in terms of mass and volume and allowing it to accommodate irregular-shaped bags. The new modules will be delivered starting in 2017.
About Thales Alenia Space
Thales Alenia Space (thalesaleniaspace.com) brings over 40 years of experience to the design, integration, testing and operation of innovative space systems for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo-Finmeccanica (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ “Space Alliance”, which offers a complete range of services and solutions. Thales Alenia Space has built up unrivaled expertise in dual (civil-military) missions, constellations, flexible high-throughput payloads, altimetry, meteorology, and high-resolution radar and optical observation, as well as space exploration. The company capitalizes on its strong legacy, while also making innovation a key to its strategy. By offering a continuous stream of new products and expanding its global footprint, Thales Alenia Space has established its leadership in today’s fast-evolving space sector. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues exceeding 2.1 billion euros in 2015 and has 7,500 employees in nine countries.
Thales Alenia Space Press Contacts:
T: +33(0)4 92 92 74 06 - E: chrystelle.dugimont[.]thalesaleniaspace.com.
T: +39 06 41512574 - E: tiziana.ebano[.]thalesaleniaspace.com.
T: +39 06 41512685 - E: cinzia.marcanio[.]thalesaleniaspace.com.
About Orbital ATK
Orbital ATK (orbitalatk.com) is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies. The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and merchant supplier. Its main products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition; satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced aerospace structures. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs more than 12,000 people in 18 states across the U.S. and in several international locations.