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Antares (Taurus-2)

Antares-110 (A-One) [NASA]

Antares-120 (Cygnus CRS-1)
[NASA]

Orbital has developed a medium-class launch vehicle, dubbed Antares (formerly Taurus II), to extend its family of small-class Pegasus, Taurus and Minotaur launchers. The Antares design adapts elements from these proven launch technologies along with hardware from one of the world's leading launch vehicle integrators to provide low-cost and reliable access to space for civil, commercial and military Delta II-class payloads.

The first stage structure is manufactured by ukrainian Yuzhnoe company and features two AJ26-62 (americanized NK-33) engines. The stage structure is based on the Zenit launch vehicle. The second stage is a Castor-30, which is based on a shortened Castor-120 solid rocket motor. A Castor-30A second stage will help propel the first two Antares-110 rockets into orbit, then a higher-performing Castor-30B motor will be used with the Antares-120 on the third and fourth flights in 2012. The optional third stage called BTS (Bi-Propellant Third Stage, formerly ORK, Orbit Raising Kit) is based on the propulsion system of Orbital's Star-2 satellite bus. For high energy orbits a Star-48BV can be used as third stage.

An enhanced version called Antares-130 featuring a Castor-30XL upper stage will be used for later flights.

Antares is designed to achieve a 98% or greater launch reliability. It was developed, manufactured and launched using identical management approaches, engineering standards and production and test processes used in Orbital's other major launch vehicles.

The vehicle is launched from a new launch pad LA-0A at Wallops Island, where the former Conestoga launch pad was located.

The different variants are encoded by a three digit number:
1. digit = first stage (1 = Standard first stage)
2. digit = second stage (1 = Castor-30A, 2 = Castor-30B, 3 = Castor-30XL)
3. digit = third stage (0 = none, 1 = BTS, 2 = Star-48BV)

Version Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3
Antares-110 (ex Taurus-2 (1)) 2 × AJ26-62 (NK-33) Castor-30A -
Antares-120 (ex Taurus-2 (2)) 2 × AJ26-62 (NK-33) Castor-30B -
Antares-121 (ex Taurus-2 (2) BTS) 2 × AJ26-62 (NK-33) Castor-30B BTS / 3 × IHI BT-4
Antares-122 2 × AJ26-62 (NK-33) Castor-30B Star-48BV
Antares-130 (ex Taurus-2e) 2 × AJ26-62 (NK-33) Castor-30XL -
Antares-131 (ex Taurus-2e BTS) 2 × AJ26-62 (NK-33) Castor-30XL BTS / 3 × IHI BT-4
Antares-132 (ex Taurus-2h) 2 × AJ26-62 (NK-33) Castor-30XL Star-48BV
Performance (kg) LEO LPEO SSO GTO GEO MolO IP
Antares-110 - - - -
Antares-120 4600 1500 - - - -
Antares-121 4750 2900 - - - -
Antares-122 - - - - 900
Antares-130 5100 - - - -
Antares-131 5600 3600 - - - -
Antares-132 - - - 1800 - 1110
No.TNo Type               Date         LS       Fai  Payload 

 1  1  Antares-110        21.04.2013   WI LA-0A      Cygnus Mass Simulator / Dove 1 / PhoneSat v1a / PhoneSat v1b / PhoneSat v2a
 2  2  Antares-110        18.09.2013   WI LA-0A      Cygnus D1
 3  1  Antares-120        09.01.2014   WI LA-0A      Cygnus CRS-1 / Flock-1 1, ..., 28↑ / ArduSat 2↑ / LituanicaSAT 1↑ / LitSat 1↑ / SkyCube↑ / UAPSat 1↑
 4  2  Antares-120        13.07.2014   WI LA-0A      Cygnus CRS-2 / Flock-1b 1, ..., 28↑ / TechEdSat 4↑ / MicroMAS↑ / Lambdasat, GEARSSAAT↑


planned launches

 5  1  Antares-130        xx.xx.2014   WI LA-0A      Cygnus CRS-3
 x  x  Antares-130        xx.xx.2015   WI LA-0A      Cygnus CRS-4
 x  x  Antares-130        xx.xx.2015   WI LA-0A      Cygnus CRS-5
 x  x  Antares-130        xx.xx.2016   WI LA-0A      Cygnus CRS-6
 x  x  Antares-130        xx.xx.2016   WI LA-0A      Cygnus CRS-7
 x  x  Antares-130        xx.xx.2016   WI LA-0A      Cygnus CRS-8


↑ = deployed via ISS airlock


Launch sites:

WI  = Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Wallops Island, Virginia, USA USA/ LA-0A