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Cygnus (RCM version) [OSC]

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 Cygnus spacecraft will be capable of delivering up to 2,300 kg of pressurized or unpressurized cargo to the ISS, or will be capable of lifting and returning up to 1,200 kg of cargo from ISS to Earth.

The Spacecraft consists of a Service Module (SM), which can be used with either a Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM), an Unpressurized Cargo Module (UCM) or a Return Cargo Module (RCM). 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 will be manufactured by Thales-Alenia.

The COTS demonstration mission is scheduled to take place in the fourth quarter of 2010. Subject to NASA's needs, operational COTS missions would follow beginning in the first half of 2011. Orbital will be capable of conducting two to eight operational missions a year by 2012, together with other non-COTS Antares launches.

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
Orbit: 400 km × 400 km, 51.6 (typical)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Cygnus TBD - WI LC-0A Antares-120


Further Cygnus missions:

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