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Orbital Sciences Completes Transport Demo Flight to Intl Space Station; Frank Culbertson Comments

Orbital Sciences logoOrbital Sciences Corp. has completed its Commercial Orbital Transportation Service demonstration mission to the International Space Station.

The project culminated with the reentry of the space technology company’s Cygnus cargo shuttle into the Earth’s atmosphere at 2:15 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, Orbital said.

“With the COTS development phase now successfully completed, we are now turning our full attention to the eight operational resupply missions covered by our commercial resupply services contract with NASA,” said Frank Culbertson, executive vice president and general manager for advanced programs at Orbital.

The logistics spacecraft detached from the ISS a day earlier after 23 days at berth.

The COTS initiative took place under a $1.9 billion contract with NASA that involves eight resupply missions total, with the first operational flight scheduled for December.

In the demo run on Sept. 18, Orbital used its Antares rocket to propel Cygnus into space.

The spacecraft came back from the space station with close to 3,000 pounds of items for disposal.

“Each Cygnus is capable of delivering a large quantity of pressurized cargo, totaling up to 20,000 kg over the eight missions, including crew supplies, spare parts and equipment, and scientific experiments for the ISS,” Culbertson said.

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