April 18, 2017 – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the OA-7 resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 April 18 at 9:11 a.m. MDT. The OA-7 mission represents the first execution of a RapidLaunch™ service contract, with contractual agreements being finalized 5 months ago.
The mission was flown for Orbital ATK under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract and the payload will deliver supplies, equipment and experiments to astronauts aboard the ISS.
“ULA is excited to be a part of the team that delivered such an important payload to astronauts aboard the ISS,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Human and Commercial Systems. “Not only are we delivering needed supplies as the first launch under our new RapidLaunch™ offering, but we are truly honored to launch a payload dedicated to John Glenn on an Atlas V, helping to signify the gap we plan to fill as we start launching astronauts from American soil again in 2018.”
Orbital ATK dedicated the OA-7 Cygnus spacecraft to John Glenn during a ceremony last month. John Glenn became the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth after being launched on a heritage Atlas LV-3B rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 1962.
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V 401 configuration vehicle, which includes a 4-meter extra extended payload fairing (XEPF). The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C engine. This is ULA’s fourth launch in 2017 and the 119th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.
“Congratulations to our mission partners at Orbital ATK and NASA on another successful launch that will help advance our scientific knowledge on Earth and in space, and inspire the next generation of space explorers,” said Wentz.
Cygnus is a low-risk design incorporating elements drawn from Orbital ATK and its partners’ existing, flight-proven spacecraft technologies. Cygnus consists of a common Service Module (SM) and a Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM). The SM is assembled and tested at Orbital ATK’s Dulles, Virginia, satellite manufacturing facility and incorporates systems from Orbital ATK’s flight-proven LEOStar™ and GEOStar™ satellite product lines. The PCM is based on the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), developed and built by Thales Alenia Space of Italy.
ULA’s next launch is the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M (TDRS) mission for NASA. The launch is scheduled for August 3 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.