It might be the final CRS1 (Commercial Resupply Services 1) contract flight for both the Antares rocket and the Cygnus spacecraft, but as the two prepare to transition seamlessly into the CRS2 round of cargo contracts for NASA beginning in the fall, they are both capping the current contract by debuting a host of new capabilities.
Some of these upgrades include the first time Antares will deploy satellites from its second stage, the first time Cygnus and Antares have been able to support late load cargo at the launch pad, the first time Cygnus will fly with Control Moment Gyros, the first time Cygnus will perform a long-duration on orbit stay after it leaves the International Space Station, and hopefully the first time two Cygnus spacecraft will be in orbit at the same time.
The mission is currently set to launch today at 16:46:06 EDT (2046:06 UTC) – the opening of a 5-minute launch window – from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s pad 0A on Wallops Island, Virginia.
NG-11 cargo resupply:
Despite the significant firsts that will take place on this mission, the flight’s primary purpose is the successful resupply of the International Space Station.
To that end, the S.S. ...