Cygnus CRS OA-6
Cygnus CRS OA-6, also known as Orbital ATK CRS-6, is the sixth flight of the Orbital ATK unmanned resupply spacecraft Cygnus and its fifth flight to the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. The mission launched on March 23rd, 2016 at 11:05 PM.
Cygnus CRS OA-6 approaching the ISS on 26 March 2016
|Mission type||ISS resupply|
|Mission duration||Final: 91 days, 10 hours, 23 minutes|
|Spacecraft||S.S. Rick Husband|
|Spacecraft type||Enhanced Cygnus|
Thales Alenia Space
|Launch mass||7,492 kg (16,517 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||23 March 2016, 03:05:52UTC|
|Rocket||Atlas V 401 (AV-064)|
|Launch site||Cape Canaveral SLC-41|
|Contractor||United Launch Alliance|
|End of mission|
|Decay date||22 June 2016, 13:29UTC|
|Berthing at ISS|
|Berthing port||Unity nadir|
|RMS capture||26 March 2016, 10:51 UTC|
|Berthing date||26 March 2016, 14:52 UTC|
|Unberthing date||14 June 2016, 11:43 UTC|
|RMS release||14 June 2016, 13:30 UTC|
|Time berthed||79 days, 20 hours, 51 minutes|
NASA OA-6 mission patch
The first COTS demonstration mission with a Cygnus concluded successfully in September 2013 and Orbital commenced operational ISS cargo missions under the Commercial Resupply Service (CRS) program with two missions in 2014. However, the third operational mission, Orb CRS-3, was unsuccessful due to catastrophic failure of its Antares 130 launch vehicle. Orbital discontinued the Antares 100 series in favor of the planned Antares 200, upgraded with newly built RD-181 first stage engines to provide greater payload performance and increased reliability.
While the Antares 200 was under development in 2015–2016, the company contracted with United Launch Alliance for the Atlas V launch of CRS OA-4, which occurred on 6 December 2015, to be followed by the Atlas V launch of CRS OA-6 on 23 March 2016.
Orbital ATK plans subsequent launches of CRS OA-5 in Q3 2016 and CRS OA-7 in Q4 2016 on the new Antares 230. Together with CRS OA-6, these missions will enable Orbital ATK to cover their initial CRS contracted payload obligation.
Production and integration of Cygnus spacecraft is performed in Dulles, Virginia. The Cygnus service module is mated with the pressurized cargo module at the launch site, and mission operations are conducted from control centers in Dulles and Houston.
On 23 March 2016 (UTC), Cygnus CRS OA-6 was successfully launched by the Atlas V into Low Earth orbit. During the flight, the rocket had a first-stage anomaly that led to shutdown of the first-stage engine approximately five seconds before anticipated. The anomaly forced the Centaur upper stage of the rocket to fire for approximately one minute longer than planned, using reserved fuel margin, but did not significantly impact payload orbital insertion. The preplanned deorbit burn successfully deorbited the stage, but not precisely within the designated location. The issue marked the first Atlas V anomaly in over eight years to be publicly acknowledged by ULA.
OA-6 is the fifth of ten flights by Orbital ATK under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. This was the second flight of the Enhanced sized Cygnus PCM. The delay of the NOAA GOES-R satellite from March 2016 to October 2016 created this Atlas V launch opportunity for CRS OA-6 to be launched before OA-5. The mission was launched on 23 March 2016.
- Crew supplies: 2,511 pounds (1,139 kg)
- Crew care packages
- 169 Bulk overwrap bags of food
- 6 Bulk overwrap bags of U.S. food for Russian crew
- Hygiene towels for Russian crew
- Printer ink and paper
- Vehicle hardware: 2,443 pounds (1,108 kg)
- Multiplexer-demultiplexer circuit cards
- Charcoal, brine and bacteria filters for ECLESS
- Water sampling kit
- Toilet inserts, urine receptacle with hose, toilet paper
- Science and research: 1,713 pounds (777 kg)
- Computer resources: 216 pounds (98 kg)
- New ZBook laptop and printer
- 160GB hard drive for IBM ThinkPad
- Canon XH camcorder, Ghost camera, Nikon cameras, 50mm lens, USB card reader
- Assorted cables
- EVA (Spacewalk) gear: 346 pounds (157 kg)
- Legs, boots, arms and hard upper torso for spacesuit
- Socket caddy assembly
- METOX canisters for carbon dioxide removal
- Contamination detection kit
Saffire-1 is a NASA test to study flammability and fire propagation in space, using the CRS OA-6 after it has delivered cargo to the International Space Station. The spacecraft is fitted with various sensors and cameras to record data during what is expected to be a 20-minute fire, to determine how much fire resistance is needed in the ultra-light material used in the spacecraft and astronaut's gear. OA-6 will later disintegrate as it enters the Earth's atmosphere.
Other ORB projectsEdit
After this OA-6 flight, NASA plans to launch two more Cygnus cargo missions in 2016: OA-5 on 6 July and OA-7 on 30 December. They will be followed by three flights from the extended contract: OA-8E on 12 June 2017, OA-9E later in 2017 and OA-10E in 2018. The schedules in early 2017 are dynamic, due to the first manned commercial flights (SpaceX, Boeing) to ISS.
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- NASA to light large blaze in space as part of new fire safety experiment, AFP via ABC News Online, 16 March 2016
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- Media related to Cygnus 6 at Wikimedia Commons