The next Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo mission to the International Space Station will demonstrate two new capabilities, one before launch and the other after the spacecraft departs the station.
After launching three of its last four Cygnus missions from Florida, Orbital ATK is planning to begin a string of cargo launches to the International Space Station on its Antares rocket with one now scheduled for Nov. 12.
Orbital ATK plans to resume using its Antares rocket for launches of the Cygnus cargo spacecraft later this summer, as the company continues to seek additional government and commercial customers for the launch vehicle.
During the time after its departure, the spacecraft deployed four cubesats and performed a fire experiment.
As Orbital ATK prepares to launch a Cygnus cargo spacecraft on an Atlas 5, the company expects to hear soon from NASA about potentially using that rocket again on future cargo missions.
In its first flight in nearly two years, an Orbital ATK Antares successfully launched a Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station Oct. 17.
Thursday's briefing begins with Orbital ATK postponing Antares' return-to-flight mission from Aug. 22 to mid-to-late-September.