Orbital’s Cygnus Cargo Tug Arrives at Wallops Island

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Orbital Sciences Corp.’s first Cygnus pressurized cargo module arrived Aug. 24 at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia in preparation for a 2012 demonstration launch to the international space station.

“This is one more important step in our partnership with U.S. private industry to build safe, reliable and cost effective cargo transportation systems,” Phillip McAlister, NASA’s acting director of commercial spaceflight development, said in a joint statement issued by NASA and Orbital Sciences.

Dulles, Va.-based Orbital Sciences holds a $1.9 billion NASA contract to fly eight resupply missions to the international space station once it successfully demonstrates Cygnus and its Orbital-built Taurus 2 rocket.

The Taurus 2 had been slated to make its inaugural flight — without Cygnus — in October but has been delayed until December to allow more time for the completion and certification of rocket propellant and pressurization facilities at the vehicle’s Wallops launch site.