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Cygnus-PCM (enhanced)

Cygnus CRS-4 (enhanced PCM version) [NASA]

Orbital and NASA's Johnson Space Center are jointly developing a new space transportation system in a three-year cooperative program to support the International Space Station (ISS). The COTS program will involve full-scale development and flight demonstration of a commercial cargo delivery system. The COTS system will consist of:

  • Antares, a new medium-class launch vehicle being developed by Orbital
  • Cygnus, an advanced maneuvering spacecraft, and
  • Several interchangeable modules for pressurized and unpressurized cargo.

The Spacecraft consists of a Service Module (SM), which can be used with either a Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM) or an Unpressurized Cargo Module (UCM) (now cancelled). The PCM is based on the MPLM-Logistics-Module, while the UCM is based on the Express Cargo Carrier, which were both used with the Shuttle. The PCM is manufactured by Thales-Alenia.

The enhanced Cygnus spacecraft will be capable of delivering up to 2,700 kg of pressurized cargo to the ISS. It can also carry an external CubeSat dispenser (first flown on OA-6) and can host internal modules with experiments to be conducted in free flight after the ISS mission.

The enhanced Cygnus will be used beginning with the fifth Cygnus mission. Due to the explosion of the first Antares-130 rocket, which was originally planned to launch all enhanced Cygnus missions, the first two will fly on an Atlas-5(401) launch vehicle with the reengined Antares-230 taking over in 2016. Also they are planning to fulfill the cargo contract with only four instead of five remaining missions. In March 2015, one more mission was added to the contract for launch in 2017. In August 2015, two more missions were added.

Under the CRS-2 selction in January 2015 Cygnus was selected for a minimum of six missions, which might use both Antares-230 or Atlas-5(401) launch vehicles.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Space Station logistics
Operator: NASA
Contractors: Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC)
Propulsion: IHI BT-4, 32 × MR-106M
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 66 days
Mass: 7492 kg (#4)
Orbit: 400 km × 400 km, 51.6 (typical)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Cygnus CRS-4 (OA 4, SS Deke Slayton 2) 2015-072A 06.12.2015 CC SLC-41 Atlas-5(401) with SIMPL, AggieSat 4, Bevo 2, Flock-2e 1, ..., 12, CADRE, MinXSS 1, Nodes 1, Nodes 2, STMSat 1, SNAPS
Cygnus CRS-5 (OA 5, SS Alan Poindexter) 2016-062A 18.10.2016 WI LC-0A Antares-230 with Lemur-2 14, ..., 17
Cygnus CRS-6 (OA 6, SS Rick Husband) 2016-019A 23.03.2016 CC SLC-41 Atlas-5(401) with Diwata 1, Flock-2e' 1, ..., 20, Lemur-2 5, ..., 13
Cygnus CRS-7 (OA 7, SS John Glenn) - 2017 CC SLC-41 Atlas-5(401) with ALTAIR 1, SUSat, UNSW-EC0, i-INSPIRE 2, ZA-AeroSat, nSIGHT 1, Ex-Alta 1, LilacSat 1, NJUST 1, Aoxiang 1, SOMP 2, QBITO, Aalto 2, X-CubeSat, SpaceCube, DUTHSat, UPSat, Hoopoe, LINK, SNUSAT 1, SNUSAT 1b, qbee50-LTU-OC, BeEagleSat, HAVELSAT, Phoenix, PolyITAN-2-SAU, QBUS 1, QBUS 2, QBUS 4, IceCube, CSUNSat 1, CXBN 2, Biarri-Point, Lemur-2 30, ..., 34?
Cygnus CRS-8 (OA 8) - 2017 WI LC-0A Antares-230
Cygnus CRS-9 (OA 9) - 2017 WI LC-0A Antares-230
Cygnus CRS-10 (OA 10) - 2018 WI LC-0A Antares-230
Cygnus CRS-11 (OA 11) - 2018 WI LC-0A Antares-230
Cygnus CRS-xx (OA xx) - 201x WI or CC Antares-230 or Atlas-5(401)
Cygnus CRS-xx (OA xx) - 201x WI or CC Antares-230 or Atlas-5(401)
Cygnus CRS-xx (OA xx) - 201x WI or CC Antares-230 or Atlas-5(401)
Cygnus CRS-xx (OA xx) - 201x WI or CC Antares-230 or Atlas-5(401)
Cygnus CRS-xx (OA xx) - 201x WI or CC Antares-230 or Atlas-5(401)
Cygnus CRS-xx (OA xx) - 201x WI or CC Antares-230 or Atlas-5(401)


Further Cygnus missions: